Nov. 6, 2019

Guardian (UK – Long Read) – Priya Basil
Make yourselves at home: the meaning of hospitality in a divided world

This is soup and dinner for souls weary with tensions from violent events and political divide, perhaps even a prescription for a cure.  It is suggestive of the practice of hospitality as a remedy for the tenor of the times, especially towards those less fortunate refugees and immigrants to countries living in real wealth and relatively peaceful days. “The act of welcoming and feeding strangers can transcend borders. Priya Basil discovers the power of unconditional hospitality.”  Worth a leisurely read in a reflective moment.   Related article: CBC News – Ashley Burke – Relentless online abuse of female MPs raises concern for safety of staff

Washington Post Magazine (US) –
The Prison Issue: An issue written, illustrated and photographed by currently and formerly incarcerated Americans

This is a bold exploration of prison issues for a reform thinking public that allows for an exposure of both the issues and the harms that need attention.  Involving a number of journalists and artists, all shaped by prison and re-entry experiences firsthand, and acknowledging the suffering of victims not mentioned, the magazine adds an editor’s note at the end of seven titled essays.   Related article: Newsweek (US) – Tareq Haddad    Florida Women’s Prison Corrections Officer Promoted Despite Accusations of Abusing Inmates and Trading Cigarettes for Sex

Detroit Free Press (US) – Angie Jackson
The question you shouldn’t see on most Detroit rental applications anymore

The number of obstacles to successful re-entry from prison is less by one now in Detroit.  Former felons have a number of prohibitions to contend with but rental housing is a major factor, now appearing as a tick box on most rental apps.  The requirement to tick a criminal record will no longer appear on most applications.  “Giving more people a chance is the intention of a new ordinance in Detroit that “bans the box” asking about criminal history from most rental applications, preventing landlords from immediately disqualifying prospective tenants because of their convictions.”

 Blogger Russell Webster (UK)
Prison deaths stats for 2019

Russell’s stats on the number of prison inmates’ deaths offers little comfort that the situation is getting better.  The government report that Russell uses is also very much aware that there are precedents to the deaths, notably self-harming incidents and violent assaults.  “Despite the fact that figures have been worsening every quarter for the last five years, the new bulletin, which covers deaths in prison custody for the year to September 2019 and assaults and self-harm for the 12 months to June this year, once again shows unprecedented levels of self-harm and assaults.”   Full report: Safety in Custody Statistics,England and Wales: Deaths in Prison Custody to September 2019 Assaults and Self-harm to June 2019  (13 page downloadable pdf)   Related article: Globe and Mail – Eric Anderssen  Ontario teens who visit ER for self-harm treatment at increased risk for later hospitalization, suicide, study shows   Related article: BBC (UK) – HMP Bronzefield: ‘Severe shortage’ of nurses at baby death jail    Related article: Toronto Star – Louie Rosella  Inmate charged with manslaughter after rash of drug overdoses at Milton jail

 Province (Vancouver, BC) – The Canadian Press
Barring federal inmates access to clean needles in prison is unconstitutional, say activists

Everyone recognizes that drugs are available in the federal prison system and that sharing needles leads to an increase in blood related diseases.  Needle exchange is a recognized solution but Corrections Canada views needles as contraband and punishes inmates caught with them.  About half the federal prisons now have needle exchange and a lawsuit before the Ontario courts is trying to force a greater compliance, especially since the inmates, diseases and all, will likely be eventually released into the public sphere.

She is facing jail time for overdue library books

A mother of five had two overdue library books but was moving constantly due to a domestic violence scene at the given address.  Then she later found and returned the books only to discover that the library had involved the police who issued an arrest warrant.  The mechanism for acknowledging the return of the books did not work and now the Michigan woman is an arrest stat trying to resolve a problem that never should have been a problem, had wiser heads prevailed.

The (US) – Kira Learner
Arizona Prosecutor Commissions Report That Argues Against Leniency For Teens Who Commit Crimes

Hardline youth criminal justice tenets seem alive and well to judge by this report out of Arizona in spite of efforts at criminal justice reform. Maricopa County, Arizona, already famous through former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, is challenging the well-researched idea that adolescent brains are not developed adult brains and that the justice system should stop differentiating.  Based on a new report filed under seal, the opinion flies in the face of numerous court rulings: “The report is an attack on pivotal decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court that prohibited extreme sentences for children and teenagers.”   Related article: Crest Advisory Group (UK) – Manon Roberts    Examining the YJS: What drove the falls in first time entrants and custody, and what should we do?  

Global TV News – Maham Abedi
What to know about the Safe Third Country Agreement court challenge

Current under court challenge the safe third country is a list of countries to which Canada can deport people who arrive without formal immigration approval.  The notion is that if the last country in which the refugee / immigrant was safe for the person than that last pass-through country should deal with the refugee /immigrant status.  The advocate challenge is that the US no longer belongs on the list of safe countries.  The link offers a review of the policy from inception and opinion around the policy.