Better or worse…

Sept 13, 2020

National Post (Canada) – Marni Soupcoff
A popular anti-racism tool isn’t working, and might be making things worse

As the crisis with police / community relations looks to solutions, Soupcoff says that the usual antiracist tool for training police officers, educational institutes and businesses is not working and perhaps even making matters worse.  The problem is, she says, “There is just one small hitch: no one has ever been able to prove that implicit bias training works, and the new results of a New York Police Department (NYPD) study are far from promising.”  The failure is reflective of post-training behaviour – in the case of police, stop ‘n search of Black people.  Related article: Pro Publica – Joaquin Sapien and Topher Sanders, and Nate Schweber   Over a Dozen Black and Latino Men Accused a Cop of Humiliating, Invasive Strip Searches. The NYPD Kept Promoting Him.   Related article:  Kenosha News – Terry Flores   While calling for firing of officer in Blake shooting, group positioned for political change   Related report: National Public Radio / NPR (US) – Martin Kaste  NYPD Study: Implicit Bias Training Changes Minds, Not Necessarily Behavior

The Guardian (UK) – Jamie Grierson
Scale of failure in prison system staggering, say MPs – Minister have not met pledge to improve condition of prison estate, committee says

The reforms (‘prison estates’ refers to the properties / real estate),  the refurbishing and the new prisons were promised in 2016 but in fact the deteriorating conditions have forced severe costs in maintenance and forced the closure of over 500 prison place each year, intensifying the overcrowding.  “The poor state of many prisons, coupled with high levels of overcrowding, are contributing to dangerously high levels of violence and self-harm in prisons, the report says. Meanwhile, there is “no sign of a cross-government strategy for reducing reoffending”, it says.”  Equally disastrous was the effort to reform the probation services.   “The scale of failure in our prisons and in the disastrous probation reforms is really quite staggering,” said Meg Hillier, the committee’s chair.”

Basic Income Canada
Job insecurity adversely affects health

“The adoption of a #BasicIncome would enhance income insurance in the context of rising job insecurity due to rapid technological change. Greater stability improves everyone’s lives.”  See link for a graphic illustrating the interconnectedness:   Related article: Senator Kim Pate  Impact on Indigenous and Black women in Prison    Related article:  Basic Income Canada – Molly Kinder   “Women disproportionately hold the jobs that today are at highest risk of automation, and that’s not really being talked about.”   (A two minute video)  Related article: Global News / Basic Income  – Joan Bryden The Canadian Press   Guaranteed basic income emerges as top policy priority for Liberal MPs amid COVID-19   

Twitter Michael Spratt –

Most everyone is of the opinion that defunding the police in its rawest understanding is not going to happen.  Instead there are offers from various sources, including police agencies, for alternatives.  Toronto has opted to spend $24 million on body-cameras.  Spratt, an Ottawa defense lawyer, wants the fox in the hen house.  “When cops are for these police cameras, ask yourself why? Millions of dollars to allow the system to exist as it does now. It’s a status quo move. Turn control over to those responsible for abuses. Let the fox have the data. Film more already over police communities.” He may be right since most of the offensive incidents already have citizen taken videos and even then take forever to become public.  Related article: Toronto Star – Adam Elmahrek, Los Angeles Times  A California city embraced a ‘defund the police’ movement. Then came the police union backlash

Toronto Star – Staff
A Toronto police officer shares her story of surviving workplace sexual harassment

Several incidents, including the disclosure of police involved in domestic abuse in Nova Scotia last week, are raising the spectrum of an embedded gender bias and violence among police officers, requiring structural change.  Toronto Police Constable Heather McWilliam fought back from her experience of sexual harassment for six years before the Ontario Human Rights Commission ruled in her favour.  (Toronto Star Podcast:  A police officer shares her story of surviving workplace sexual harassment (A 24 minute audio first person interview and podcast)  Related article: CBC News (Calgary) – Elise von Scheel  Stop talking, start fixing: Alberta’s women in politics say it’s time to do something about harassment

NBC News (US)

Chicago teens give neighborhood tours to rookie cops.  (Teens from the neighbour help rookie cops in required orientation to the neighbourhood)   Related article:  Pro Publica – Zipporah Osei, Mollie Simon, Moiz Syed, Lucas Waldron, July 29, 2020. Updated September 9, 2020.  We Are Tracking What Happens to Police after They Use Force on Protestors – These 68 videos show clear apparent instances of police officers escalating violence during protests. Most departments refused to share details about investigations and discipline or even officers’ names. Here’s what we learned about each case.   Related article: Calgary Herald – Madeline Smith   Calgary police propose ‘reallocating’ parts of budget for different crisis response – CPS leadership will present to city council Thursday about their response to this summer’s public hearings on systemic racism   Related article: GBH Public Radio – Joe Mathieu Rep. Ayanna Pressley Calls On CDC To Declare Racism A Public Health Crisis

N.Y. Times – Peter S. Goodman, Abdi Latif Dahir and Karan Deep Singh
The Other Way Covid Will Kill: Hunger  –  Worldwide, the population facing life-threatening levels of food insecurity is expected to double, to more than a quarter of a billion people.

The authors claim that the hunger consequent and contemporary to Covid-19 is world-wide and even in the wealthy countries.  “It is increasingly the reality for hundreds of millions of people around the planet. As the global economy absorbs the most punishing reversal of fortunes since the Great Depression, hunger is on the rise. Those confronting potentially life-threatening levels of so-called food insecurity in the developing world are expected to nearly double this year to 265 million, according to the United Nations World Food Program.”

Politico (US) – Nolan D. McCaskill
Felons have the potential to swing close 2020 races – The expansion of felon voting rights across the U.S. in recent years has created a pool of as many as 2 million newly eligible voters.

As the US presidential vote gets ready, the questions around the potential impact of those who don’t vote and those who are prevented from voting are getting more attention.  Florida, as a case and point, has about 2 million citizens with criminal records.  If the former prisoners have any fines outstanding, they can be prevented from registering to vote.  The laws vary from state-to-state and in spite of the limitations on former prisoners, there are a huge number of people in jail who ae still eligible to vote – they are on remand and have not been convicted of anything.  The effort to get these prisoners and former prisoners eligible to vote is getting a push.  Stephanie Young, chief officer of culture for When we all vote, says:  “At the end of the day, who does it impact? Black people and brown people, period,”   Related article: The Guardian (UK) – Sam Levine Federal court rules Florida felons must pay off debts to state before voting – Appeals court says state does not have to say how much is owed in decision that could bar hundreds of thousands from polls   Related article: Time Magazine (US) – Madeleine Carlisle and Lissandra Villa     Most of the 750,000 People in U.S. Jails Are Eligible to Vote. These Advocates Are Fighting to Get Them Registered