UN and Canadian children…

June 12, 2022

CTV News – Laura Osman, Canadian Press
Urgent measures must be taken to ensure rights of Canadian children: UN committee

Canada is currently undergoing a review under agreement with the United Nations on the way Canada treats its children, and this report is specifically looking at the treatment of the Indigenous children.  “The committee is deeply concerned about the discrimination against children in marginalized and disadvantaged situations,” said the report, made public Thursday…The committee cited structural discrimination against Indigenous and Black children, “especially with regard to their access to education, health and adequate standards of living.” https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/urgent-measures-must-be-taken-to-ensure-rights-of-canadian-children-un-committee-1.5940813

Lawyer’s Daily – Crispin Schmitz
SCC considers appellate review of jury charges in case where foster parents starved child to death

This case of Kevin Goforth and his co-accused wife resulted in an appeal of their conviction for extreme child neglect, to the point of almost starving to death two children in their care.  The argument, which did not win the day, revolved around the judge’s instructions to the jury, one which favoured plain language vs legal jargon.  The critical deciding factor in the SSC ruling appears to be the context of the specific evidence given at the trail and its reflections in the charge to the jury by the judge.  The case as reported is in itself a commentary on jury instructions as well as child welfare.  https://www.thelawyersdaily.ca/criminal/articles/37197/scc-considers-appellate-review-of-jury-charges-in-case-where-foster-parents-starved-child-to-death-?nl_pk=40ed8ea4-637a-4d76-870f-04f0eeae7de8&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=criminal

The Conversation (Queen’s) – Shiri Pasternak and Kevin Walby
Thin-skinned blue line: Police fight against defunding, showing their true colours

To date there has been considerable talk about defunding the police, several notions of what that means practically, and for both financial and social reasons.  This article seeks to spell out the consequences of the movement, perhaps more US based than Canadian, though Canada has seen some real controversy as well in the light of policing failures and misconduct.  “When one looks further, however, what becomes apparent is a serious and growing counter-campaign. It’s perhaps the strongest indication of the movement’s success at undermining the sanctity of police budgets until now.”   https://theconversation.com/thin-skinned-blue-line-police-fight-against-defunding-showing-their-true-colours-183784?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20June%2010%202022&utm_content=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20June%2010%202022+CID_bcadd19746cec971ffef6bcdf005054d&utm_source=campaign_monitor_ca&utm_term=Thin-skinned%20blue%20line%20Police%20fight%20against%20defunding%20showing%20their%20true%20colours

Lawyer’s Daily – John L. Hill
Minister’s response to parole decision betrays lack of respect and/or knowledge

Hill is reflecting on the threat to institutions when public faith in them is violated and not corrected.  He specifically tackles remarks made by Mark Miller, federal Crown-Indigenous Relations, who criticized Corrections Canada for doing what the law requires about releasing people.  The opinion of Canada’s Chief Justice Robert Wagner extended to some conservative leadership candidates as well who critiqued the Bissonnette decision and promised revision if elected.  “The chief justice was entirely right in expressing his fear of what may result if we lose faith in our institutions. Miller was wrong in his criticism of our correctional system. He should issue a public apology for his ill-considered remarks.”  https://www.thelawyersdaily.ca/criminal/articles/37161/minister-s-response-to-parole-decision-betrays-lack-of-respect-and-or-knowledge-john-l-hill?nl_pk=40ed8ea4-637a-4d76-870f-04f0eeae7de8&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=criminal

 The Crime Report (US) – Marie DiLorenzo
Can America Build ‘Humane’ Prisons?

The article looks at the architectural design of the physical prison and the concepts that shape the design while trying to answer a variety of approaches to corrections and rehab.  Critiquing the lack of shared value system underlying the efforts to design better prisons, Raphael Sperry, a past national president of Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR), and a director of ADPSR’S Alternatives to Incarceration campaign, turns to Norway and Sweden:  “[Correctional facilities] in Norway and Sweden are undergirded by the idea that the people who are there are part of the same community with the people who are still free, and that folks who are in there are going to come back and rejoin the community, and that the purpose of that place is to make them fit for that.” Sperry quickly acknowledges that the view is not readily embraced in the US.  https://thecrimereport.org/2022/06/09/can-america-build-humane-prisons/  Related article: CBS News (N.Y.) – Jessi Mitchell  NYTS launches state’s first master’s program for incarcerated women  https://www.cbsnews.com/newyork/news/masters-degree-program-women-bedford-hills-correctional-facility/

Ca lMatters.org (US) – Alexei Koseff
Chesa Boudin recall is not a death knell for California criminal justice reform

California has two progressive district attorneys, one in San Francisco – Chesa Boudin-   and one in Los Angeles, both elected on platforms of justice reform.  Truth be told, there are and were many other elections calling for such progressive justice reform.  Boudin in San Francisco has suffered a recall that pundits are suggesting is a foul weather signal to all progressive reformers.  Koseff issues a clarification:  “While San Francisco voters recalled progressive DA Chesa Boudin, other criminal justice reform proponents did well in the California primary. The message sent by voters was far more nuanced than the national narrative.”  https://calmatters.org/politics/2022/06/chesa-boudin-criminal-justice-reform/  Related article: Williston Observer (Vermont, US) – Falko Schilling   Legislature drops ball on police reform  https://www.willistonobserver.com/guest-column-legislature-drops-ball-on-police-reform/   Related article: The Times (UK) – Mark Smith  Bill to cut prison population ‘is a good day for criminals’  https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/bill-to-cut-prison-population-is-a-good-day-for-criminals-hggnmhsgg   Tweet from Alex Karankatsanis      “You wouldn’t know it from the media “narrative,” but in Los Angeles there was a candidate for City Controller who had billboards across the city about the outrageous, wasteful police budget and huge mobilization among young people. He trounced the pro-police opponent.  (Cf string)  https://twitter.com/equalityAlec/status/1535649586328502278?s=03

CBC News – David Fraser

In jail for more than 100 days, Pat King ‘beat down,’ says supporter – Pat King, a Freedom Convoy leader, remains in jail 113 days after being arrested

Pat king undoubtedly challenged the tolerance of many in Canada with his leadership and antics around the Ottawa truckers’ convoy.  But the point of this article is equality before the law.  The narrative of 113 days already in jail, added to the type of charges, added to the public and police annoyance, would suggest that King is suffering the worse of the bail system and is likely already in jail for as long as his offences may merit.  It is a good example of the need for reform of the bail system itself.  After the 113 days to date, there is no end in sight within the court system.  King’s associate Tyson George Billings facing the same charges, and others, have also been in jail for the 113 days.  https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/king-billings-convoy-jail-ottawa-1.6483455   Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (UK) – Richard Garside   Should those who work in, with and around prisons, or who campaign for prison reform, support the right of prisoners to escape?   https://www.crimeandjustice.org.uk/civicrm/mailing/view?reset=1&id=2604

 Christian Science Monitor (Georgia, US) – Patrik Jonsson and Noah Robertson
Has the gun become a sacred object in America?

This is a timely reflection for the US on the status of firearms in both faith and patriotism.  The authors identified two sides to the discussion: “Gun rights supporters see a righteous cause in defending liberty through the object of a firearm. Gun control advocates see an “idolatry of the gun” that elevates a weapon over human life. Both frame the debate in almost religious terms.”  https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2022/0606/Has-the-gun-become-a-sacred-object-in-America   Related article: Christian Science Monitor (Uvalde, TX) – Peter Grier and Henry Gass    Columbine. Sandy Hook. Parkland. Uvalde. What do we do now?   https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2022/0527/Columbine.-Sandy-Hook.-Parkland.-Uvalde.-What-do-we-do-now?icid=mkt:web:exitd-related-current   Related article: The Conversation – Michael J. Klein   Did the assault weapons ban of 1994 bring down mass shootings? Here’s what the data tells us  https://theconversation.com/did-the-assault-weapons-ban-of-1994-bring-down-mass-shootings-heres-what-the-data-tells-us-184430