New Crime rates…

July 25, 2019

National Newswatch – Christian Paas-Lang, The Canadian Press
Crime rate rose in 2018 but country still safer than a decade ago, StatCan says

Stats Canada says the crime rate rose slightly in 2018 – up 2%, as did the severity of crime rating, also up 2%. “But Statistics Canada noted both the rate and severity of crime were still substantially lower than they were a decade ago, both down 17 per cent compared with 2008.”  The 2% is easily with the margin of error and the numbers compared to historic figures would suggest that we are making progress in crime reduction still since the high point in 1991.  Most of the changes, says Stats Canada, are as result of non-violent crime.

Lawyer’s Daily – John Chunn
Chief Justice Wagner, Justice Minister sign accord to boost SCC independence

Here’s some re-assurance for those who are alarmed by the US politicization of the judicial.  Chief Justice Wagner and Justice Minister David Lametti have signed an agreement intended to maintain the independence of the Canadian Supreme Court.  “As chief justice of Canada, it brings me great pride to have signed this accord with the minister of Justice and attorney general of Canada, knowing that it will further strengthen public confidence in the administration of justice,” said Chief Justice Wagner. “The accord exemplifies Canada’s commitment to safeguarding its institutions and protecting democratic values such as judicial independence. A judiciary that is independent — and seen to be independent— benefits all Canadians.”

CBC News –
Tiny homes for homeless youth

The tiny home measures 8x24m costs $85,000 and “includes a washer and dryer, a bathroom, kitchen and living room. It has a composting toilet and connects to the homeowner’s water and hydro.”  All that it needs to place to be – hopefully on someone’s private property in a municipality whose by-laws allow the solution to homelessness.  The tiny home project came together through a partnership between Algonquin College and the housing non-profit Cornerstone Landing in Lanark County.

Slate (US) – Andrew Kahn and Jamelle Bouie
The Atlantic Slave Trade in Two Minutes – 315 years. 20,528 voyages. Millions of lives.

The link provides an interactive map showing the growth of the slave trade from Africa to the US with surprising numbers destined for elsewhere.  The second link is to an extended multi-year publication around aspects of the slave trade, both helpful in these racially troubled times.   Related article: Slate: The History of American Slavery

The Appeal (US) – Jonathan Ben-Menachem
Incarceration Is Always a Policy Failure: Instead of building ‘humane jails’ to replace Rikers Island, let’s push the NYPD to cut down on arrests.

The infamous Rikers Island prison is closing if New York agrees but now the argument starts about building another.  Given the major thrust of US prison reform is to reduce the number of incarcerated people, replacing the jail seems to fly in the face of the project.  Places where the same issue has surfaced and where the decision to tackle arrests and prosecutions do not seem the worse for crime rates.  The plan appears to be to replace Rikers – currently eight separate jails – with in fact four new jails.  The link offers commentary on other places facing the same issues.

The Marshall Project – Adnan Khan
A Sentence for Felony Murder—and the Consequences of Hope

In Canada we have the faint hope clause which allows for parole eligibility after twenty-five years of a life sentence.  The criminal justice reform in the US is beginning to appreciate the need for hope as an element of sentencing, that what contributes enormously to the violence in prisons is precisely that lifer destined to die in prison have no hope.  Nowhere is the need for hope more evident than the practice of felony murder or murder committed by one offender while a second is unaware of the incident or intent.  Khan was still incarcerated at the time of the writing but is now out on parole.   Related article: Newsweek – Louis Reed   3,100 Americans Are Heading Home Today From Prison. It’s Our Duty to Support Them  Related article: Reuters – Andy Sullivan  As new U.S. law frees inmates, prosecutors seek to lock some back up

Blogger Russell Webster (UK)
Real Re-offending Costs

While we know generally the recidivism rates around prisons, few have attempted a broad examination of the real costs of recidivism to a national justice system.  Likely out-going now in the face of changes in the British government, Justice Secretary David Gauke has caused a report that estimates the real costs at just over £18 billion once the economic and social costs are bundled.  (Full report – 51 page downloadable pdf)   Economic and Social Costs of Reoffending Analytical Report – Alexander Newton, Xennor May, Steven Eames & Maryam Ahmad

   Together for the Common Good (UK) – Luke Bretherton
Beyond Respectability, Denunciation and Escape:  The Theology and Politics of a Common Life

This is a blog about the recently published book: Christ and the Common Good.  Common good is not a prominent notion in our political discourse but it may offer a different perspective on the increasing rift and paralysis in partisan party politics.  The blog is unabashedly from a practicing Christian viewpoint but most any faith group could likely live with the discussion points.  “There are three core questions that confront people of faith when it comes to any kind of politics. These are first, how should we respond to the suffering, injustice and poverty we either experience ourselves or we see around us? Second, how do we forge a common life with those not like us? And, lastly, how can we transform constructively imbalances of power so that a more just and loving form of life might emerge, one in which the flourishing of each is recognised as connected to the flourishing of all? Christians down the ages, and in the contemporary context, have addressed these questions in various ways.”