June 6, 2021

Blogger Michael Spratt –
Shocking news that the Ford government and Sylvia Jones, MPP, as of June 4, have disbanded all Community Advisory Boards. 

Community Advisory Boards are a part of the public surveillance of what happens in the province’s prisons.  So far, there has been no public announcement or press release but suspicions are that the new policy is in the face of scathing denunciation by the Ontario court about the Toronto South Detention Center:  “…the Ontario Superior Court ruled conditions at the Toronto South Detention Centre were “inhumane and fail to comport with basic standards of human decency.”  The response of the Ford government has been to increase security and to install expensive ion machines to detect drugs entering the prisons, a machine already known to given false alerts to even the minute amount of drugs found on currency in general circulation.   The Ottawa based Mothers Offering Mutual Support (MOMS) has also denounced the decision.  MOMS has written a letter objecting to the decision.  It reads in part:  “MOMS Ottawa (Mothers Offering Mutual Support) feels betrayed, blindsided and outraged by the news that Community Advisory Boards (CABs) for all Ontario correctional institutions have been disbanded as of June 4, 2021… We view this as a grave mistake for many reasons, but mostly because it will decrease transparency across the system. It appears as if the Ontario Correctional Institutions may have something to hide.”  MOMS are asking for support in objecting directly to the Sylvia Jones, MPP and Solicitor General of Ontario, 18th Floor, 25 Grosvenor Street, Toronto ON M7A 1Y6.  Direct personal e-mail:   Copies to Ford and your own MPP.  Website for the Advisory Boards:  Ontario Listing of MPP’s:

Global TV News
The high number of Indigenous children in foster care a symptom of Canada’s colonial legacy: Wilson-Raybould

This link is to an almost 6 minute interview with Jody Wilson-Reybould, the former liberal justice minister with Mercedes Stephenson.   The interview includes the foster care of indigenous children and the appeal to international authorities by the UN and the international courts for impartial reference with regard to the Indigenous rights.

CBC News – Catherine Tunney
The number of misconduct investigations of border officers soared last year – One officer was let go for interfering in the immigration process

This report is again a pressing reason why the CBSA should not investigate complaints against its own members.  “The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) says it conducted 215 “founded” investigations of its officers last year, up from 171 in 2019. (The CBSA says it considers a complaint “founded” if “aspects” of it are found to be “valid.”)”  The increase is only reckoned after the qualifying criteria for a complaint is met and the actual number of complaints is unknown but includes allegations other than border crossing incidents.  170 resulted in some sort of penalty, most temporary suspensions.  Eight officers (of 14,000 employees) have been fired since 2018. Janet Dench, executive director of the Canadian Council for Refugees, says there are likely more cases of abuse that don’t go anywhere.  “And the reason for this is people who don’t have permanent status in Canada are often extremely reluctant to make a complaint because they are frightened that it might wind up working against them,” she said. “And there are indications that this does happen in some cases… Sometimes people are removed. And so if the problematic behaviour happens in the removal — for example, if there’s physical abuse of somebody who is being removed — but then that person is deported from Canada, they’re not even here. It’s really difficult for them to make and pursue a complaint.”

CBC News – Morning Briefing
Postpartum mental health visits spiked by more than 25% in pandemic

A Toronto study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal reveals a startling and considerable increase in postpartum mental health needs.  “…month-by-month mental health visits for postpartum people in Ontario spiked by an average of more than 25 per cent throughout much of 2020 compared to previous years.”  The study involved 137,000 patients between March to November of 2020, led by Women’s College Hospital Chief of Psychiatry Dr. Simone Vigod.  “Health systems should focus proactively on patients from high-risk groups, monitor waiting lists for care, and explore creative solutions to expand system capacity, with special attention to postpartum patients who may be experiencing barriers to care,” Vigod and her research team advised.”    Related article: CBC News – Lauren Pelley     More new mothers are seeking mental health supports amid overwhelming strain during the pandemic – Physicians say Ontario study reflects strain faced by many Canadian families

Times Herald (US) (Vallejo, CA)
State Assembly passes bill requiring prosecutors and judges to recognize costs of sentencing in criminal cases

We had previously reported that California was attempting to contain the cost of imprisonment by instructing judges and jurors engaged in sentencing what the actual costs are.  Then, the tendency towards excessively long sentences may resolve itself when the sentencing people realize how much they must pay for protracted revenge.  The state of California agrees with the strategy.

NY Times (US) – Jeff Asher and Toni Monkovic
Quiz: How Well Do You Understand Today’s Crime Trends?

Crime stats are back in the news as a number of local elections play out with crime as an election issue.  Here’s a quiz from NY Times about the current trends in the crime rate.  Try your knowledge on these multiple choice:

The Washington Post – Jessica Contrera
The state of Ohio vs. a sex-trafficked teenager – The criminal justice system mishandled 15-year-old Alexis Martin’s case. Now she’s living with the consequences.

This is yet another story where the brutal edges of the courts and the law have offended, a scene also reported in Canada when women victims of domestic abuse react violently against the abuser and are tried as though there are no ignored aggravating circumstances.  In this case, the abuser is a sex trafficker and the victim Alexis Martin, a Black teenager, went through the system without factoring the damage suffered.  Said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine recently and in retrospect:  “She was 15 years of age when she committed the crime. She is a child sex trafficking survivor.”  Ohio prosecutors insisted at the time on raising her case to adult court and charging her with a murder committed outside her presence by her abuser.  Alexis is now free, after more than 6 years in prison but further harmed by the experience.