Continuing torture…

Oct 19, 2021

Canadian Bar Association – Stephen Maher
Stopping the torture – No one seems capable of getting Corrections Canada to effectively end the use of solitary confinement. Perhaps legal action will work.

“…two 2019 appeal court decisions that found solitary confinement violates the United Nations’ “Mandela rules” and sections seven and 12 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”  Yet the use of solitary by Corrections Canada continues, impervious to the court rulings.  Some advocates now want to see the public safety minister’s mandate contain instruction to end the practice.  “…the bill (C-83) provided for ostensibly independent oversight. But in February, the John Howard Society found that, in spite of the new law, hundreds of prisoners across Canada continue to be held for more than 22 hours a day without human contact, which amounts to torture according to the Mandela rules.”   Related article: Reuters (US) – Andrew Chung   U.S. Supreme Court again protects police accused of excessive force

CBC News – Laura Marchand
What police reform could look like in Montreal

Marchand looks at a variety of police reforms by comparison to what may be possible in Montreal, already with considerable concerns politically around police reform.  In Montreal, 18% of the municipal budget goes to public safety and advocates want reductions in favour of social services.  Violence reduction Units modelled in both Glasgow (Scotland) and Manchester (England) are presented as alternate approaches.  In particular the Manchester model involves gang rivalries and uses young people at emergency reception at local hospitals.  Stockholm (Sweden) has the Psychiatric Acute Mobility unit or PAM, used in response to mental health crisis.  What could Montreal, or any other major Canadian city do differently to reduce violence?   Related article: The West Australian – Helena Burke and Erin Lyons   NSW government to fund 75 new refuges for domestic violence victims  (The plan from New South Wales includes more refuge houses for domestic violence victims and a $5,000 grants to help cope with the problem.)

Blogger Russell Webster (UK)
The profound and persisting impact of prison on mothers

Webster identifies the author of this piece – Lucy Baldwin – as an expert on the effects of imprisonment on mothers.  The piece is in fact the executive summary of Baldwin’s Ph.D. thesis.  The research involved interviews with 43 incarcerated mothers.  “The Mothers described criminalised motherhood as a paradox; they experienced judgement, discrimination and oppression alongside joy and hope. When motherhood was combined with criminalisation, the judgement and gaze the Mothers experienced in a patriarchal constructed and influenced society were magnified. Navigating through the criminal justice system and especially through imprisonment was a painful experience for Mothers. Not least because of the physical separation from children, but additionally due to institutional thoughtlessness and lack of recognition concerning their maternal identity, maternal emotions, and maternal role; which pointedly occurred at every stage of the criminal justice system. Subsequently resulting in missed and lost opportunities to support mothers and their children.”

The Intercept (US) – Alice Speri
The NYPD Is Using Drones the U.S. Government Claims Threaten National Security – There’s not much evidence backing U.S. officials’ claims, but civil rights advocates question whether police should be using drones at all.

The New York police department are using Chinese drones “that would be used in search and rescue missions, hostage situations, hazardous material incidents, and to reach inaccessible crime scenes.”  Now the drones are in widespread use by other police agencies and besides the security considerations of having access to police data by a foreign country, advocates are wondering if the announced intent of the use of these drones has already been exceeded and privacy and surveillance concerns have been breached.

Death Penalty Information Center (US)
Federal Appeals Court Reinstates Oklahoma Death-Row Prisoners to Lawsuit in Decision That May Require State to Vacate Execution Dates

At issue is the question of how to execute a person.  Oklahoma has a three drug cocktail that advocates say constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.  To countermand the claim, Oklahoma asked the people to be executed to identify another means of execution.  A state court ruling was overturned by a federal appeal court.  When five of the condemned persons did not name an alternate execution method, they were excluded from the lawsuit and are now included in the lawsuit, causing Oklahoma to vacate all executions until the federal appeal is determined.