The RJ way…

July 15, 2020

Court of Queen’s Bench (Alberta)
Restorative Justice Committee

The link contains the full communiqué from the Court, establishing a committee to study the notion of establishing a process for the referral of appropriate criminal cases to a restorative justice process instead of the usual court process.  Members of the committee are drawn from both the legal community and the Indigenous community.  “Restorative justice is defined as a process in which the parties affected by a particular offence (the victim, the offender, and community members) are supported and voluntarily participate in a discussion about the causes, circumstances, and impact of the offence. Dialogues take place with the assistance of an impartial facilitator or “keeper”, who is tasked with engaging stakeholders to identify the harm, discuss its impact, and recommend what needs to be done to assist in creating more meaningful outcomes. The goal is to build understanding, encourage accountability and provide an opportunity for stakeholder engagement, capacity development, and repairing the harm caused by crimes.”—communique   Full announcement:  Related article: Toronto Star Editorial (July 15, 2020)  Canada should listen to the experts and decriminalize drug possession

Waging (Chicago, US) – Loretta Graceffo
Community peacemakers in Chicago offer a proven alternative to policing – As calls to defund police grow, peacemakers on the frontlines of Chicago’s gun violence epidemic have dramatically reduced homicides and shootings.

With all the calls to defund police, community based groups with a contribution to the issue are beginning to surface as well.  This link is in Chicago where the number of shootings, both from police and from criminal elements is overwhelming – 350 year-to-date so far.  Founded in 2015, the Institute for Non-violence many of the staff “have been formerly incarcerated or gang involved — and yet, when given an opportunity and purpose, they dedicate their entire lives to shaping the lives of others.”  Staff asks people to call them rather than police and staff arrives at a shooting within thirty minutes to advocate against any vengeance.  Related article: New-Gazette (Illinois) – Minnie Pearson    Unit 4’s resolution a promising start, but there’s much work left to do – Unit 4’s resolution a promising start but there’s much work left to do   Related article: Azusa Pacific University (San Bernadino, Cal)  Evelyn Allen  Restorative Justice in Schools: A San Bernardino Educational Leader Upholds Students’ Promise and Potential (Link presents a highly successful school program to eliminate bullying)  Related article:   (Wisconsin) – Shezad Baloch    No more police in schools — what’s next?   Related article: Colorado Sun (US) – Evan Ochsner   For Colorado students, becoming “anti-racist” starts with no longer letting offensive social media posts slide

Pro Publica (US) – Jodi S. Cohen
A Teenager Didn’t Do Her Online Schoolwork. So a Judge Sent Her to Juvenile Detention.

This link from Michigan illustrates any number of concerns with following the letter of the law.  Grace was on probation when the Covid-19 changed her student status to remote learning.  Her probation was revoked and she was sent to a juvenile detention facility when she failed to do the homework required by the remote learning.  “The decision, they say, flies in the face of recommendations from the legal and education communities that have urged leniency and a prioritization of children’s health and safety amid the crisis. The case may also reflect, some experts and Grace’s mother believe, systemic racial bias. Grace is Black in a predominantly white community and in a county where a disproportionate percentage of Black youth are involved with the juvenile justice system.”

The – John McWhorter
The Dehumanizing Condescension of White Fragility – The popular book aims to combat racism but talks down to Black people.

Robin DiAngelo’s book was first published after a considerable amount of time given to seminars and conferences on the notion that white fragility is the first response in avoidance of racism issues and must be overcome in confronting the role Whites play in racism.  The book has become a NY Times best seller in the current furor over Black Lives Matter.  McWhorter challenges the thesis with a contrasting view, suggesting that the approach is condescending towards Black people.  Related article: N.Y. Times Magazine – Daniel Bergner  ‘White Fragility’ Is Everywhere. But Does Antiracism Training Work?

The Hill Times (Canada) – Samantha Wright Allen
Prison watchdog has ‘grave’ concerns that CSC rates Indigenous, Black inmates as higher risk

Canada’s Correctional Investigator Dr. Ivan Zinger says that Black and Indigenous prisoners are relegated to a higher security classification because the classification system is distorting the real assessment.  In 2018, the Supreme Court ordered a re-assessment of the classification system but as yet Corrections Canada has not said how or when the corrections will come.

The – Michael Kwet
The Microsoft Police State: Mass Surveillance, Facial Recognition, and the Azure Cloud

The article / link reveals a powerful partnership between Microsoft and various police agencies and shows the extent to which the combined agencies are able to effect surveillance from the Domain Awareness System, “built for the New York Police Department and later expanded to Atlanta, Brazil, and Singapore. It also obscures that Microsoft has partnered with scores of police surveillance vendors who run their products on a “Government Cloud” supplied by the company’s Azure division and that it is pushing platforms to wire police field operations, including drones, robots, and other devices.”   Related article:  N.Y. Times – By Allison McCann, Blacki Migliozzi, Andy Newman, Larry Buchanan and Aaron Byrd  N.Y.P.D. Says It Used Restraint during Protests. Here’s What the Videos Show.  Related article: Toronto Star – Alex Boyd and
Omar Mosleh  The case of Alberta’s rogue cops might never have seen the light of day. Some say that’s a problem