Quo vadis?

June 17, 2018

 Canadian Lawyer – Michael Spratt
Dear soon-to-be-premier

Ontario has a new premier-elect and everyone is wondering about what policies he will embrace over a multitude of issues.  Spratt, a Criminal Defence Counsel who supported the NDP in Ontario’s recent election, tells of a street encounter with Doug Ford that led to a follow-up.  In view of the responsiveness of Ford on returning calls, Spratt writes Ford about five major factors around criminal justice that he thinks need attention from the new premier-elect to find true efficiencies in the justice system of the province.  Topping the list is legal aid, then the $1B OCDC / new jail, re-habilitation in jails, modernizing the courts, shuffling around the small stuff.   http://www.canadianlawyermag.com/author/michael-spratt/dear-soon-to-be-premier-15840/

Guardian (UK) – Eric Allison and Simon Hattenstone
MoJ to review use of pain-inducing restraint on young offenders – Charity had threatened legal action over rules on escorting children to secure homes

97 incidents of physical restraint used by guards while escorting youth to secure facilities was too much for the Charity called Article 39.  “Article 39, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the Children’s Commissioner for Wales and others have urged the MoJ to banish pain-inducing techniques across the children’s secure estate.”   Article 39’s director, Carolyne Willow welcome the proposed review:  “Prisons remain the only institutions where the deliberate infliction of pain on children is sanctioned. It will be up to all of us who work with and for children to reassure ministers that institutions can be run safely without the threat or imposition of pain,” she said.”   https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jun/07/moj-to-review-use-of-pain-inducing-restraint-on-young-offenders   Related article: CNN – Undocumented mom: Child taken while breastfeeding   https://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2018/06/14/undocumented-mother-baby-taken-while-breastfeeding-lavandera-newday.cnn/video/playlists/u-s-immigration/

Prison Bag (UK)
Animal Training – In May 2016 a film maker was convicted of conspiring to defraud HMRC. This is his family’s story from behind the scenes. 

If a story could be well told about frustration and failure, this story is in the running.  The author talks about the failure of prison to impact positively and to offer any redeeming features to the inmate in the way prisons operate.  It is well done and leaves a reader with the same emptiness projected by the author.   http://prisonbag.com/?p=615   Related article: Slate (US) – Joel Waldfogel – The Irrational 18-Year-Old Criminal – Evidence that prison doesn’t deter crime.  http://amp.slate.com/articles/business/the_dismal_science/2007/01/the_irrational_18yearold_criminal.html?__twitter_impression=true   Related article: Prison Policy Initiative (US)  –  Elliot Oberholtzer   Police, courts, jails, and prisons all fail disabled people – Disabled people are overrepresented in all interactions with the criminal justice system, and at all points, the system is failing them.   https://www.prisonpolicy.org/blog/2017/08/23/disability/

HuffPost (UK) – Andy Bell
Prison Leavers Have a Critical Opportunity to Reimagine Their Lives – We Must Give Them the Support They Need

The UK releases about 72,000 persons per year and has always been concerned with the recidivism rate.  In 2014 the Centre for Mental Health began a study looking at the exact circumstances before and on release to see what factors may be more instrumental.  Not surprising, mental health supports and employment are high on the list.  https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/prisoners-mental-health_uk_5b1a873be4b0adfb826845ab?guccounter=2   Related article: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction / Blogger Russell Webster   UK Drug Report 2018  https://mailchi.mp/russellwebster/emcddauk18?e=10ab936adc

National Newswatch – Canadian Press
Government rejects 13 Senate changes to pot bill, including ban on home growing

With July 1 perilously close the senate has sent the legalization of marijuana back to the government with nearly four dozen amendments.  Government can live, it says, with some 27 many of which are merely technical but rejects thirteen.  The key resistance is around the Senate bid to ban home cultivation altogether (the original bill allows for four plants per house), already made illegal in two provinces, Manitoba and Quebec.   Now the House has to decide to send the bill back to the Senate.  https://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2018/06/13/government-rejects-13-senate-changes-to-pot-bill-including-ban-on-home-growing-2/#.WyE6_yAnY2y   Related article: CTV – Rachel Aiello    Feds accept most, not all Senate amendments to marijuana bill   https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/feds-accept-most-not-all-senate-amendments-to-marijuana-bill-1.3971400   Related article: Bloomberg News   Marijuana   https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/marijuana  (A business report on the various companies lined up to sell marijuana.)    Related article: National Post – Maura Forrest   Senators consider showdown over home-grown cannabis as pot legalization looms – Some senators argue the government’s insistence on legalizing home cultivation paves the way for a constitutional fight with the provinces  http://nationalpost.com/cannabis/cannabis-news/senators-consider-showdown-over-home-grown-cannabis-as-pot-legalization-looms   Bill C-46 Legislative version to date, including Senate Third Reading (June 14, 2018)  http://www.parl.ca/LegisInfo/BillDetails.aspx?Language=E&billId=8886286

VERA Institute – Jacob Kang-Brown, Oliver Hinds, Jasmine Heiss, and Olive Lu
The New Dynamics of Mass Incarceration – June 2018

Research Director Christian Henrichson is cautioning that prison reform may appear a little too rosy if we count on the data coming out of state prisons and ignore the growth in incarceration in the jails that is happening in smaller population centres.  Decarceration appears to be a fact for the last twenty years until the numbers from these smaller places are included.  This report is a 37 page PDF that traces the issues around prison reform and decarceration.  https://storage.googleapis.com/vera-web-assets/downloads/Publications/the-new-dynamics-of-mass-incarceration/legacy_downloads/the-new-dynamics-of-mass-incarceration-report.pdf   Related article:  VERA Institute – Michael Corradini, Jonathan Allen Kringen,* Laura Simich, Karen Berberich, and Meredith Emigh    Operation Streamline: No Evidence that Criminal Prosecution Deters Migration    https://storage.googleapis.com/vera-web-assets/downloads/Publications/operation-streamline/legacy_downloads/operation_streamline-report.pdf   (A 12 page pdf refuting the Sessions claim of deterrence effectiveness from criminalizing immigration.)  Related article: CNN – Catherine E. Shoichet    Doctors saw immigrant kids separated from their parents. Now they’re trying to stop it.  https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/14/health/immigrant-family-separation-doctors/index.html

CTV News – Canadian Press
Three adults in polyamorous relationship declared legal parents of child

Two men and a women who had a child in 2017 have all been declared parents of the child by Newfoundland Justice Robert Fowler of the Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court’s family division.  The biological father of the child is unknown but the three are first to be all declared parents of a child while in a relationship with one another.  The ruling was in response to a limitation on the birth certificate form.  “The three people in the Newfoundland case turned to the courts after the province said only two parents could be listed on the child’s birth certificate.”  In his ruling Fowler said that “the child was born into a stable, loving family that is providing a safe and nurturing environment.”     https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/three-adults-in-polyamorous-relationship-declared-legal-parents-of-child-1.3973546

CBC News – Jason Proctor
Powdered milk in prison? Judge says it’s not cruel and unusual

A federal judge, Justice Alan Diner, has handed down a decision that serving powdered milk to federal inmates is not a legitimate grievance nor a violation of the Charter of Rights for William A. Johnson, an inmate in Warkworth Institution.  The issue arose when Corrections Canada reviewed the diet for all male inmates and was trying to save money on the $5.41 for a total of 2600 calories per day.   Prison food is often thought to be a factor in unrest and violence in prisons.  https://www.cbc.ca/amp/1.4701552?__twitter_impression=true