Failure to remedy…

March 17, 2021

CBC News – Murray Brewster, Kristen Everson
Senior female officer quits Canadian Forces, says she’s ‘sickened’ by reports of sexual misconduct – Lt.-Col. Eleanor Taylor says she’s ‘not surprised’ by recent developments

Most advocates for women‘s rights are surprised with discovery of misconduct among the top military officers who have been instructed to clean up the military’s sexual assault and harassment problem.  Now, a well-respected and high ranking woman has requested discharge from the army over that same failure to address the incidents.  Her resignation letter reads in part: “I am sickened by ongoing investigations of sexual misconduct among our key leaders…Unfortunately, I am not surprised. I am also certain that the scope of the problem has yet to be exposed. Throughout my career, I have observed insidious and inappropriate use of power for sexual exploitation.”   Related article: CBC News – Raisa Patel   Canada’s former top female officer on the shock, anger of military’s sexual misconduct allegations – Retired Lt.-Gen. Christine Whitecross applied to succeed Vance in military’s top job  Related article:   Global News –  Amanda Connolly   Military ombudsman’s limited role in misconduct complaints flagged repeatedly since 2014  Related article: CBC News – John Paul Tasker  Senate’s new harassment policy ‘a gift’ for would-be abusers, senator says – ‘I have suffered intense bullying,’ former senator says as she calls for more stringent harassment measures

Toronto Star – Wendy Gillis
Researchers tracked nearly 150 charges against Ontario police officers since 2005. Most ended in acquittal or withdrawn charges

There have been about 150 charges filed against Ontario police since 2005.  The most common charge is assault, followed by sexual assault.  The most frequent outcome is a finding of not guilty.  The link provides an analysis of the cases from the Special Investigations Unit.  “The findings highlight the specific challenges of investigating, prosecuting and sentencing police, experts say, even when charges are laid by an agency specializing in police probes. The cases involve unique circumstances and defendants with inherent benefits compared to most people accused of a crime, ranging from dogged support by police unions and specialized lawyers to credibility battles where officers often get the benefit of the doubt.”   Full Report:  Kate Puddister and Danielle McNabb    When the Police Break the Law: The Investigation, Prosecution and Sentencing of Ontario Police Officers  (A 24 page pdf)

Pew Foundation (US) – Lisa Valder
Local Spending on Jails Tops $25 Billion in Latest Nationwide Data – Costs increased despite falling crime and fewer people being admitted to jail – This briefing was issued in January, 2021 and reflects the year 2017, the latest for which the data is available. 

The link provides a breakdown of spending on the approximately 3,000 local jails.  Needless to say the costs are increasing (by 13% between 2007 and 2017, now at a total of $25 billion) while the jails are emptying because of the enthusiasm for ending mass incarceration then, and because of covid-19 now.  “Jails accounted for 39% of all non-federal correctional institution expenditures in 2017… local governments spend almost $34,000 per prisoner.”  Physically about 30% of the real estate of jails in the US is more than 30 years or more old, suggesting the question of spending more for the physical plants.  “Safely cutting jail costs could provide needed budget relief for local jurisdictions in the coming months and years, and a key strategy to reduce jail spending is further lowering jail populations. By continuing and expanding on policies that already have lowered confined populations during the pandemic, public officials can downsize their jail systems and potentially decommission older facilities, delivering meaningful taxpayer savings and protecting public safety.”$25-billion-in-latest-nationwide-data?utm_campaign=2021-03-16+PSPP&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Pew

Blogger Russell Webster (UK)
The impact of prison lockdown on physical health

The issue is the mental health impact of lockdown as a response to Covid-19.  One has to start with the realization that there are widespread medical health problems in any prison population and the evidence is already well documented for the claim that prisoners grow older earlier while in prison resulting in age 55 as the approximate senior citizen status.  About half think their health has declined; women, Black, Asians and Ethnic minorities felt their health has declined.  Those under 30 years of age blamed the deterioration on the lack of exercise consequent to the lockdown.   Full report: The Impact of Lockdown to Mental Health (A 23 page pdf)   Related article: Blogger Russell Webster (UK):  The Government’s New Crime Bill:  All the main provisions of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

Brennan Center for Justice (US) – Michael Waldeman
The Briefing: New Study Shows Congress Can Stop Assault on Voting Rights –  The For the People Act would bar virtually all of the voter suppression measures being proposed in state legislatures.

Waldeman, the President of the Brennan Center, insists that voters must defend the American democracy against the current spate of efforts to restrict voters – 43 states are making it harder to vote in over 250 bills presently before the state legislatures.  He advocates for support for the new federal act as a one stop solution to sway the election results.   Related article:  Brennan Center – Congress Could Change Everything   Forty-three states are trying to enact legislation that could make it harder to vote. The Senate can stop voter suppression by passing the For the People Act, which recently passed the House.  (US) – Anna North
The problem is work – Pandemic parenting is impossible. American work culture is a big reason why.

The link is a little outside the normal interest in justice but may help understand the world changing according to Covid-19, especially the world of work, the role of women in that world, and the historic evolution to a certain impasse at the moment.  The prescription for resolution may join the movement towards a living wage for all and the notion of a guaranteed annual income, especially for those more recently understood as essential workers but left on the inadequate end of income.