Correctional Investigator Report…

Oct 29, 2020

 2019-20 Annual Report of the Correctional Investigator of Canada Tabled in Parliament
Report Shines Light on Sexual Coercion and Violence behind Bars     Full Report Go to:   Report includes comments from Dr. Ivan Zinger, the Correctional Investigator.  (This link is to the obligatory annual report to the House by the Correctional Investigator.)

Press release from Corrections Canada:   (Readers may wish to explore the Priorities boxes to the right of this title page)

National Newswatch: Canadian Press   Corrections watchdog urges moratorium on doctor-assisted deaths in Canadian prisons

Senator Kim Pate:  In QP (Question Period) today: In light of the report from the OCI today describing human rights violations experienced by people in prisons and the 11 % increase in spending on federal prisons this year, how much money will the government redirect to fund community-based alternatives to prisons?  (An almost four minutes question from Senator Pate in the Senate on the human rights violations in prisons.  Senator Mark Gold, government rep, responds for the government.)

Edmonton Journal – Jonny Wakefield: Corrections watchdog calls for overhaul of how Canada responds to sex assaults in prison – Justin Ling  The Panel Reviewing Trudeau’s New Solitary Confinement Rules Shuts Down, Saying Government Made Their Work Impossible – The Canadian government isn’t even tracking how many hours a day inmates are being locked in isolation, or for how long.   (CF also a twitter string from Justin Ling:

Maclean’s – Paul Wells     The numbers are in on solitary confinement. They’re not good.  A preliminary report—which nearly didn’t happen due to government inaction—shows reform has been partial at best, with prisoners still being denied ‘meaningful human contact’  

Globe and Mail – Patrick White   Federal prisons flout law by keeping inmates in solitary conditions, government report says   Globe and Mail – Tom Cardosa   Fight against systemic racism in prison wins all-party support

Statement from Commissioner Anne Kelly, Corrections Canada, on the Doob and Sprott Report:  Correctional Service of Canada on Structured Intervention Units (Oct. 28, 2020)


 The Guardian (UK) – Julian Borger in Washington
Fears of crackdown on US journalism as Trump ally removes editorial ‘firewall’ – Outrage as USAGM chief Michael Pack rescinds rule that insulates journalists from editorial direction of politically appointed bosses

USAGM (United States of American Global Media) is the federal agency that controls and directs the Voice of America and a host of other international voices for the US.  Pack has rescinded a firewall rule that made journalists immune to influence from political appointees.  “The move follows several steps already taken by Pack, an ally of the right-wing ideologue Steve Bannon, to exercise greater political control USAGM broadcasters that include Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Radio Free Asia and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting. Since taking up the job in June, he has conducted a purge on senior journalists and refused to renew the visas of foreign reporters… The American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) said it stood in solidarity with USAGM staff in opposition to the move.”   Related article: Washington Post Editorial (Oct 27, 2020)  Trump aims to warp the Voice of America into a propaganda tool

 Justice Canada – Department of Justice
Bill C-6: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (conversion therapy)

The link provides an assessment of the Charter implications for Bill C-6 to prohibit sexual conversion therapy, tabled in the House on Oct. 27, 2020.  The legislation requires this assessment.

Twitter Jude Oudshoorn:  Graphic on sexual assaults in Canada and the role of the police and courts in keeping us safe

UCLA School of Law – Williams Institute (US)
Civil Commitment of People Convicted of Sex Offenses in the United States

Civil commitment refers to the allowance for the state to continued indefinite custody of a dangerous sex offender beyond the sentence at conviction.  The topic is getting increasing attention in the US and this link looks at the implications of this law in some 20 states for the Black and sexual minority communities.  The issue reflects some 6300 people held under indefinite detention in the US. (Cf link at bottom of page for the full report.)

 The New Republic (US) – Melissa Gira Grant
Getting out the Vote in the Maze of Mass Incarceration – Denying people the vote is presumed—wrongly—to be part of the deprivation of being locked up.

The link offers a nuanced version of who among those in jail can vote.  Because we have been following the back-and-forth in Florida about disenfranchisement as part of a felony conviction, prisoner often think they are ineligible.  In fact, about 70% of those in jail at any given moment have not been convicted of anything and have not lost their vote, if it can be arranged.  Who is impacted?  1 of every 44 Americans.  “Disenfranchisement laws have, for more than a century, been part of a political project that turned to the law as a tool of voter suppression. “When you look at how it proliferated and spread in the United States, especially after the Civil War, and after Reconstruction, it’s very clear to me that this was intended to strip Black political power,” says Chiraag Bains, director of legal strategies at Demos.  Related article The Sentencing Project (US) Free the Vote (A four minute video)

Tweet from Jude Oudshoorn, Professor of Community and Criminal Justice at Conestoga College.   “I can’t stop thinking about how much we spend on policing versus, well, anything else in Waterloo region. Look at 2020, the top (policing) and the bottom (crime prevention). Until we move $ away from policing, violence will continue to go up. Because police don’t prevent crime…”  With financial graph of Kitchener-Waterloo spending on police vs other services.   Related article:  New Yorker (US) – Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor    We Should Still Defund the Police – Cuts to public services that might mitigate poverty and promote social mobility have become a perpetual excuse for more policing.