Hammer looking for nails…

May 13, 2021

Toronto Star – Gilbert Ngabo
Proposed Ontario human trafficking law will be ‘extremely harmful’ to sex workers, advocates say

Bill 251, the Combating Human Trafficking Act, will be debated at committee at Queen’s Park starting Wednesday.  “The proposed law would give investigators the ability to inspect any place for compliance with the law and question any person on any matter that may be relevant to the inspection, with failure to comply leading to possible heavy fines.” The reaction from over 70  legal and human rights organizations and sex workers themselves was instant and condemnatory:  “Bill 251 not only harms sex workers, migrants, Indigenous, Black, Asian and other people of colour, it affects everyone,” she said.  “Activist and educator Robyn Maynard, author of “Policing Black Lives,” said Bill 251 does not facilitate ending violence against sex workers or protect people from domestic abuse, because police “are not a solution to gendered violence.” https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2021/05/11/proposed-ontario-human-trafficking-law-will-be-really-extremely-harmful-to-sex-workers-advocates-say.html?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=SocialMedia&utm_campaign=GTA&utm_content=humantraffickinglaw&utm_source=twitter&source=torontostar&utm_medium=SocialMedia&utm_campaign=&utm_campaign_id=&utm_content=  Original version of Bill 251:  Combating Human Trafficking Act, 2021   https://www.ola.org/en/legislative-business/bills/parliament-42/session-1/bill-251

CBC News – Nick Wells, Canadian Press
Indigenous leaders call for investigation into RCMP on Vancouver Island after recent shootings – Tla-o-qui-aht woman was shot several times Saturday after police responded to disturbance call

Indigenous leaders are calling for investigation of RCMP conduct in Tofino and Ucluelet on Vancouver Island where now the second member of a small First Nations group has been shot several times.  The first killing was in late February when Julian Jones, a 28-year-old Tla-o-qui-aht man from Mears Island was shot and killed by RCMP.   The deaths are under investigation by the Independent investigations Office of British Columbia who in turn have already invited for the first time an observer participation of an Indigenous rep in both cases. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/vancouver-island-indigenous-rcmp-shootings-investigation-1.6023364

The Intercept (US) – Allene Brown
Law Enforcement Groups Drive Anti-Protest Laws, New Analysis Shows – A separate Greenpeace report looked at corporate support for politicians who pushed anti-protest and voter suppression laws.

The presence of corporate influence in social issues is largely obscure and relegated to the use of corporate donations to politicians and their parties. Few have any idea of the extent of corporate influences holding sway over issues.  This report looks at the support from Corporate America for right wing conservatives and law enforcement pushing anti-protest laws and new regulations to help depress ease of voting. Current corporate opposition to “the Big Lie” may be the first steps in which corporations put the common good and the best interests of the country ahead of corporate business agenda.  Alternately, the corporate world may realize that a flourishing citizenry is a good route to corporate profit and satisfying public trust.   https://theintercept.com/2021/05/09/police-anti-protest-greenpeace-voting-rights/   Related article: Popular Information (US) Judd Legum    EXCLUSIVE: How corporate PACs are plotting to “move beyond” January 6    https://popular.info/p/exclusive-how-corporate-pacs-are?s=03   Related article: Toronto Star – Steve Paikin   What Iceland can teach us about making democracy more inclusive  https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/the-democracy-agenda/2021/05/13/what-iceland-can-teach-us-about-making-democracy-more-inclusive.html

 The Sentencing Project (US) – Nazgol Ghandnoosh
A Second Look at Injustice: Ending mass incarceration and tackling its racial disparities require taking a second look at long sentences. 

This new report from the Sentencing Project is focused in particular on the 200,000 people in US prisons serving life without parole (LWOP), including a few thousand juveniles.  But the issues are much the same in cases where the sentences are virtual life sentences or stop just short of a life sentence.  The perspective of the report is to end mass incarceration but there are also moral, legal and social issues with the deterrence principle of sentencing supporting long sentence.  The report first establishes the reality of the problem and then presents three instances of effective response models already in play.  https://www.sentencingproject.org/publications/a-second-look-at-injustice/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=a6b2ad4f-3251-4ec1-a667-193049e81d77   Related article: The Guardian (UK, US desk) – Richard Luscombe   Man who spent 22 years in solitary urges Illinois to curb ‘psychological torture’ – Anthony Gay, who calls solitary confinement ‘wrong, despicable and horrible’, hopes bill passed by lower house will become law  https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/may/12/solitary-confinement-illinois-anthony-gay?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Other

Sophie Lachapelle
“IT’S SET UP SO YOUTRIP AND FALL”:  A report about formerly incarcerated people’s experiences of prison-to-community reintegration in Kingston, Ontario

More and more both professionals and advocates for correctional reform have been stressing the need for a legitimate second chance as part of the rehabilitation and re-entry process.  Endorsed by both Elizabeth Fry and the Queen’s Prison Law Clinic, the 38 page report identifies three major problems: navigating the system, housing and the emotional toll of re-integration; each problem area has recommendations and then Lachapelle offers a conclusion.  https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5cacae31f4e5315133a246b5/t/6092053abffd03549de6bb06

NY Times (US) –
Efforts to Weed out Extremists in Law Enforcement Meet Resistance – Oregon, California, Minnesota, Tennessee and Washington, D.C., are seeking to give law enforcement agencies more power to exclude officers with ties to extremist groups.

Much of the effort to defund police has brought a counter argument that bad police officers are “a few bad apples” and that some new recruitment processes and a little more power to fire a police officer who offends will save the best of what we have now.  This article looks at the results of these efforts in a number of US states where legislation has run into defeating obstacles.  https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/11/us/police-extremists-state-laws.html?action=click&module=Well&pgtype=Homepage&section=US%20News