Mother’s Day…

May 6, 2022

Globe and Mail – Patrick White
‘Shocking and shameful’: For the first time, Indigenous women make up half the female population in Canada’s federal prisons

While the 50 /50 split in federally incarcerated women between non-Indigenous and Indigenous is shocking enough, the problem is long term and has been repeated signaled along with proposed solutions.  Most involvement of Indigenous women in the prison system follows on “survival” crimes.  A second part of the problem follows:  “Once involved with the courts, Indigenous people tend to receive higher security classifications and lower reintegration scores than non-Indigenous inmates, reducing their chances of serving parts of their sentences outside high-security prisons. People with lower risk assessments might be allowed to serve out some of their time in less secure facilities, where inmates typically have more freedom and better quality of life.”  Related article: World Changing Ideas / (US) – Kristin Toussaint  This law gives prosecutors the power to rectify too-harsh prison sentences    Under Prosecutor-Initiated Resentencing, prosecutors can review old cases and help get people out of prison.

 CBC News – Brandie Weikle
Fatherhood interrupted – A parenting program for prison dads aims to help them make the most of their connection to their children, despite the walls between them.

There has always been much discussion about how to help people in prison heal and rehab.  There are always two ingredients that stand above every other as expediters in that healing process.  One is healing and helping the familial relationships and the second is in education. The Canadian Family and Corrections Network (CFCN) offers a sterling example of the most curative approach to healing: helping the more than 50% of incarcerated persons who are already dads to be better dads in spite of the prison walls.   The CFCN program is called Dad Hero and CBC celebrates its work.  “Created by CFCN in partnership with CSC, Dad HERO was designed specifically to help incarcerated fathers deepen their understanding of childrearing and make the most of their connection to their children despite the walls between them. So far, 385 men from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds have taken the program since it was launched in 2018.”  (The link offers a 27 minute podcast on the project as well.)  CFCN web page:   Corrections Canada commentary on Dad Hero:  The Canadian Families and Corrections Network (CFCN) partners to help Incarcerated Dads

 The Conversation – Francis Pakes
I Deliberately Sent Myself to Prison in Iceland – They Didn’t Even Lock the Cell Doors There – Open gates, good food and communal living make for a very different approach to incarceration.

Researcher Pakes had been to the prison before but decided he wanted to experience the real thing.  He asked for a week in two of Iceland’s “open prisons” and the authorities readily agreed.  His conclusion:  “The Iceland open prisons are, to a degree, unique. Perhaps it is their size. Perhaps it is their population. Perhaps it is the relaxed nature of the regime. Or perhaps they typify Iceland, a country where historically, you need to rely on each other to survive the harsh climatic conditions of the North Atlantic. Whatever it is, living together, in this calm, remote, tiny prison, in a strange way, made sense.”

The Conversation (Queen’s) – Jessica Evans and Linda Mussell
How prisons are using COVID-19 containment measures as a guise for torture

The issue of solitary confinement in Canada’s prisons is supposed to be resolved in the new approach called Structural Intervention Units.  Recent, Corrections Canada released the first results from an analysis by the appointed panel.  This link offers another voice:  “Our analysis shows that the frequency and length of isolation practices have increased during the pandemic and have received little critical oversight because they’re framed as containment measures.”  The report puts the focus on the practice of solitary under the guise of Covid prevention and its implications for the mentally ill in Ontario jails.   Related article: Breach – Sophie Jean   How “accidental activists” may block Doug Ford’s new prison In rural Ontario, a group of small town retirees have built a formidable campaign against the expansion of the prison system in alliance with abolitionists

International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group
The Halifax Proposals on Extradition Reform

This group first met in Dalhousie University to consider the need for reform of Canada’s extradition laws, laws that allow foreign governments to charge and extradite.  The consultation was prompted by the Canadian compliance with a request in 2014 from France to extradite Dr. Hassan Diab, a Canadian citizen.  “This document was prepared by Professor Robert J. Currie of the Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, and represents the consensus of the participants in the colloquium.”  The link provides both an Executive Summary with appraised wrongs under the law and recommendations as well as the full report.

 A new notion of community policing:

US justice advocate Alec Karakatsanis tweets this string about the efforts of a number of police services to stay out front of public issues, including the number of personnel in the public relations employ, the cost to tax payers, their focus on police issues and their role in getting further financial and community support from the public.

The Marshall Project (US) – Rebecca Figueroa as told to Carla Canning
I Had a High-Risk Pregnancy in Jail — Then I Gave Birth in Chains – When Rebecca Figueroa was arrested two months into her pregnancy, she didn’t worry because she wasn’t guilty. But seven months later, she was still in jail and totally unprepared for a high-risk pregnancy, childbirth in restraints and the constant fear of losing her daughter.

“When my baby was nearly 4 months old, the DA dropped the charges against me. The judge looked at me and said, “We apologize.” As if any apology could make up for my time in the system — and the fact that I delivered my baby while shackled to a bed, with deputies watching.”