Policing costs…

Aug 19, 2020

Toronto Star – Moya Teklu
The high cost of anti-Black racism and policing

The side of the defunding the police argument not heard yet from advocates or defenders is the question whether there is a cost involved in a specific racist orientation of policing.  The recent Ontario Human Rights Commission’s report on the Toronto Police Service is suggesting there is such a specific cost: Says Teklu: “Here’s the bigger picture. In addition to the high human cost, there is also a significant financial cost to anti-Black racism in policing…People generally do not enter the criminal justice system unless the police funnel them into it. And the police continue to use public money to funnel thousands of people, particularly Black people, into an already overwhelmed criminal justice system. People who shouldn’t be there.”  https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2020/08/17/the-high-cost-of-anti-black-racism-and-policing.html?source=newsletter&utm_content=a07&utm_source=ts_nl&utm_medium=email&utm_email=404CAADEF7EB839FC77B1B04F0C251E1&utm_campaign=top_29091   Related article: Full OHRC Report:   New OHRC report confirms Black people disproportionately arrested, charged, subjected to use of force by Toronto police  http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/news_centre/new-ohrc-report-confirms-black-people-disproportionately-arrested-charged-subjected-use-force

The Marshall Project (US) – Keegan Hamilton AND Keri Blakinger
‘Con Air’ Is Spreading COVID-19 All Over the Federal Prison System – U.S. Marshals are transporting prisoners without testing them for coronavirus

Researchers have discovered a surprising connection between the growth of incidents of the Covid-19 virus in prisons and the pathways through the various jails and prisons.  The discovery links the operations of the US Marshall’s services transporting prisoners from local facilities to reduce overcrowding.  Locally testing the prisoners seems limited to taking temperature and later when the prisoners arrive at prisons the Covid-19 testing is revealing considerable number of infections, threatening both other prisoners, the marshals, and prison staff.  https://www.themarshallproject.org/2020/08/13/con-air-is-spreading-covid-19-all-over-the-federal-prison-system?utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=share-tools&utm_source=twitter&utm_content=post-top&s=09

Toronto Star – Wendy Gillis
Toronto police board approves body cameras, unanimously passes reform plan blasted as falling far short of systemic change

Toronto City Council has approved a roadmap for improving police accountability, including an alternate emergency response strategy with mental health personnel and the purchase of 2350 body cameras for police officers.  Human rights advocates and the Black community in particular question the good faith of the police board in addressing systemic racism at the heart of the issues.  Ena Chadha, interim chief commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC):  “Despite using words like collaboration and partnership, no board representative alerted the (OHRC) to the impending report and 81 recommendations. Had they done so we would have urged that timelines and measurable outcomes are essential to achieve true institutional change.”    https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2020/08/18/board-set-to-debate-toronto-police-reform-plan-that-rejects-protesters-calls-for-immediate-budget-cuts.html   Related article: National Post – John Chidley-Hill, Canadian Press   Toronto police to get 2,350 body cameras as part of reforms in wake of anti-racism protests – Mayor John Tory said he was moved to vote in favour of the cameras in part because reports on a pilot project found that they would improve community relations  https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/toronto-police-to-get-2350-body-cameras-and-3000-licenses-for-data-management?utm_term=Autofeed&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter&s=09#Echobox=1597809980

Toronto Star – Alyshah Hasham
Ontario court cases are now searchable online — finally

Once, if you wanted information on a particular case you had to go the place where the case was heard and physically search.  Now, for most civil and some criminal cases you can search on line.  “The search function comes as the ministry launches a pilot program for a cloud-based document sharing and storage software called Caselines, and as courts embrace the use of Zoom to conduct entirely remote hearings and allow remote access to in-person trials for some justice system participants. Most court documents are also now being filed electronically, either directly to courthouses or through the ministry’s justice services portal, which expanded to allow 400 more civil and family court documents earlier this month.”  https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2020/08/17/ontario-court-cases-are-now-searchable-online-finally.html  Zoom training session for Caselines inquiries:  https://twitter.com/SCJOntario_en/status/1296077477849239552?s=03


Chicago Tribune (US) – Jennifer Smith Richards and Stacy St. Clair
Assault rifles and armored trucks: Illinois police agencies have obtained $4.7 million in military gear since Trump lifted Obama’s restrictions on a federal surplus program

In an age of protest against the confrontational and military like tactics used against protestors across the country, this link serves to re-enforce the need to both defund police and to de-militarize the 18,000 police forces in the US.  Aislinn Pulley, co-founder of the Chicago chapter of Black Lives Matter: “It’s a message of intimidation and terror. It’s the same message that is used overseas when our military occupies someone else’s country… “And what is that message? The message is we will destroy you; we will kill you if you step out of line.”   https://www.chicagotribune.com/investigations/ct-watchdog-military-surplus-illinois-police-20200819-rcd3n7yt7zfj3klt36c2q74cwm-story.html?outputType=amp&__twitter_impression=true&s=09

The Tyee (BC) – Aly Laube
The Case for Reviving Canada’s Once-Thriving Prison Press – A Q&A with Okanagan College professor Melissa Munn on the role of inmate publications and her role in preserving the historical record.

Melissa Munn is working to ensure the penal press work survives. Munn is a professor at Okanagan College with a focus on prisons and their effect on people.  She started her career as an assistant to University of Ottawa criminology Prof. Robert Gaucher who collected and catalogued works from the pens of prisoners.  The Tyee interviews Munn about what she sees as prospects for a revival of the penal press and literature.  https://thetyee.ca/Culture/2020/08/17/Reviving-Canada-Prison-Press/