End of Solitary?

Oct 17, 2018 

CBC News – Kathleen Harris
Liberals move to end solitary confinement of federal prisoners

Bill C-83 is now in draft form and Ralph Goodale is proposing structural intervention units instead of segregation units.  “Under the new SIU model, inmates who can’t be safely managed in the mainstream population will receive interventions and programs tailored to their needs. They will also be allowed outside their cells for four hours each day (compared to two under the current administrative segregation model) and will have access to two hours a day of “meaningful human contact.”  The Bill also addresses greater attention to cultural background of offenders, body scan technology, victim access to audio recordings of parole hearings, autonomy and independence for health care professionals.  https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/segregation-corrections-goodale-1.4602084   House of Commons – Bill C-83   https://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/42-1/bill/C-83/first-reading   Related article: CTV News = Rachel Aiello  Feds to replace solitary confinement with new form of inmate separation   https://beta.ctvnews.ca/national/politics/2018/10/16/1_4136061.amp.html   Related article: The Lawyer’s Daily – Cristin Schmitz   Ottawa says it’s replacing ‘administrative segregation’ with ‘structured interventions’ for certain inmates    https://www.thelawyersdaily.ca/criminal/articles/7569/ottawa-says-it-s-replacing-administrative-segregation-with-structured-interventions-for-certain-inmates?nl_pk=40ed8ea4-637a-4d76-870f-04f0eeae7de8&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=criminal

Toronto Star – Jordan Press and Kristy Kirkup
Feds eyeing options to expedite pardons for minor pot convictions

Government has been under pressure for some time to relinquish possession charges and to provide an expedited pardon process for those with simple possession convictions, mostly youthful, “low-hanging fruits.”  It appears that on the eve of the legalization, the government will act on at least the prior convictions and perhaps now finally the simple possessions are gone.  But the current pardon process, thought to be lengthy and cumbersome, may have to give way to a more simple process too.  https://www.thestar.com/news/cannabis/2018/10/16/feds-eyeing-options-to-expedite-pardons-for-minor-pot-convictions.html   Since the law around marijuana will vary from place to place, here is a guide to cross Canada:  Toronto Star:  A coast-to-coast guide to Canada’s cannabis laws   http://projects.thestar.com/cannabis-rules-canada/   Related article: CBC News – Olivia Stefanovich   Saskatchewan First Nation won’t recognize government jurisdiction over cannabis   https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/first-nations-cannabis-jurisdiction-1.4864184   Related article: CBC News – Dianne Buckner  Greenhouse growers turn to cannabis to cash in on lucrative crop  https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/cannabis-greenhouse-boom-1.4863171   Related article: CBC News – Amanda Pfeffer   Cannabis info sessions answer parents’ burning questions   https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/ottawa-health-cannabis-parents-kids-1.4864388   Related article: CBC News – Benjamin Shingler   Here’s a sneak peek inside a Quebec cannabis store   https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/societe-quebecois-cannabis-quebec-store-1.4864711

HuffPost – Althia Raj
NDP MPs Blast Liberals for Breaking Promise with Proposed Charity Tax Law

Last summer, Judge Ed Morgan’s court in Ontario ruled that the 10% cap on the amount that a charity could spend on political activity was a violation of free speech and that charities could engage in political activity and public policy making.  The ruling came in the context of harassment of the charities by CRA – politically motivated audits that sent chills through the charitable communities.  The only recourse for the CRA was to deny the tax receipt granting ability of the charities, vital in attracting funds.  Now, it appears that the ruling by the court will be challenged by new legislation: “The proposed legislation the Liberals released last month suggests that while the 10 per cent cap will be eliminated, non-political activities will have to remain incidental to a group’s charitable purposes — something Morgan specifically ruled against.”   https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2018/10/15/ndp-liberal-tax-changes-charities_a_23561992/?utm_campaign=canada_newsletter

ACLU Justice issues for the US Mid-terms

Here is an ACLU summary of the justice issues confronting the US voters in the mid-term elections in November, state by state, spelling out the candidate positions on the issues.  https://www.votesmartjustice.org/

HBO (US) – Robin Washington
The Terrible Cost of the Sentence

Prison reform and the US response to mass incarceration has prompted this latest HBO documentary on the widespread impact of sentencing in the justice system.  Frequently the impact is known as creating the secondary victims of the crime.  This documentary started when a planned family video was interrupted by a drastic family crisis with the law.  The documentary – The Sentence – first aired on Oct. 15, 2018 and the link features a Q/A around the project and its creation with an excerpt from the video.  https://www.themarshallproject.org/2018/10/11/the-terrible-cost-of-the-sentence  Trailer for The Sentencehttps://twitter.com/TheSentenceDoc   Related article: Washington Post – Jodi Lincoln   Incarcerated Pennsylvanians now have to pay $150 to read. We should all be outraged.   https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/opinions/incarcerated-pennsylvanians-now-have-to-pay-150-to-read-we-should-all-be-outraged/2018/10/11/51f548b8-cbd9-11e8-a85c-0bbe30c19e8f_story.html?noredirect=on&__twitter_impression=true   Related article:  N.Y. Times – Adam Liptak   Justices Expand Parole Rights for Juveniles Sentenced to Life for Murder   https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/26/us/politics/justices-expand-parole-rights-for-juveniles-sentenced-to-life-for-murder.html?utm_source=The+Appeal&utm_campaign=deaed7bbb9-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_08_09_04_14_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_72df992d84-deaed7bbb9-58402103   Related article: The Sentencing Project – Expanding the Vote: Two Decades of Felony Disenfranchisement Reform  https://www.sentencingproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Expanding-the-Vote-1997-2018.pdf?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=59298010-0bed-4783-9ade-23e215ad6df4

 Globe and Mail – Daniel Leblanc
Ottawa holds consultations on racism behind closed doors

Insisting that the gatherings are an effort to collect expert opinion, the federal government has been holding closed and invitation only consultations on racism in Canada. Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism, says this initial step is to allow an in-depth discussion without bathing the discussion in emotionalism or passion and obscuring the various opinions.  Rodriguez says he want to confront specific issues, with solutions, and not get embroiled in “systemic racism.”  https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-ottawa-holds-consultations-on-racism-behind-closed-doors/    Related article: CBC News (NB) – Young refugees face racism in schools, mostly from teachers   https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/refugees-face-school-racism-1.4863418

The Marshall Project (US) – Simone Weichselbaum
Police with Military Experience More Likely to Shoot

Given the frequency with which former soldiers become police officers, this headline and the research may be alarming.  Those confronting the deaths of unarmed suspects in police encounters may even find a certain chill.  The study puts the likelihood of a former soldier shooting at almost 3 times that of a non-military police officer.  Researchers at the University of Texas School of Public Health in Dallas examined the military records of officer shooting incidents and published the study in the Journal of Public Health.  “Results from this study suggest that veteran status, regardless of deployment history, is associated with increased odds of shootings,” the professors wrote. “There is critical need for additional studies on the relationship between veteran status, deployment history and combat experience, and officer-involved shootings.”   https://www.themarshallproject.org/2018/10/15/police-with-military-experience-more-likely-to-shoot?utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=sprout&utm_source=twitter   (Original article / abstract in the Journal of Public Health (permission needed)  https://academic.oup.com/jpubhealth/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/pubmed/fdy151/5114353

Institute for Research on Public Policy (Can) – IRPP
Rethinking Criminal Justice in Canada – Round Table Report

According to the think tank report, Canada’s justice system needs not only reform but a comprehensive overhaul.  The report insists that the antiquated values and principles is use adversely impact those who come in contact with the system, and particularly with certain groups.  The report offers eleven recommendations for change.  http://irpp.org/research-studies/rethinking-criminal-justice-canada/

Penal Reform International (PRI) – Cornell Law School (US)
Judged for More than Her Crime: A Global Overview of Women Facing the Death Penalty

PRI is publishing the Cornel Law School examination of the conditions of imprisonment for women who are under death sentence on death row.  The report notes that while the numbers of youth under death sentence is approximately the same as the number of women (about 500 worldwide) the women are a neglected segment, frequently invisible, and the report offers country profiles (cf pages 24-34).  The report is a distressing reminder not only of the use of the death penalty but its application in discriminatory circumstances.  http://www.deathpenaltyworldwide.org/pdf/judged-for-more-than-her-crime.pdf   (There is a foreword and an executive summary cf p.3-5)  Related article: Chicago Reporter – Jessica Pupovac and Kari Lydersen   Women in prison punished more harshly than men around the country   https://www.chicagoreporter.com/women-in-prison-punished-more-harshly-than-men-around-the-country/?utm_source=The+Appeal&utm_campaign=deaed7bbb9-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_08_09_04_14_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_72df992d84-deaed7bbb9-58398591