New wine…

July 11, 2022

The Conversation (Queen’s) – Chief Mi’sel Joe, Dorothy Vaandering, Rosemary Ricciardelli,  Sulaimon Giwa, Sylvia Moore
Two-eared listening is essential for understanding restorative justice in Canada

This is a timely reminder of the origin of the practice of restorative justice nuanced according to its Indigenous origins and inviting those who view RJ as a mechanical process to reflect a little deeper on the quality of relationship that RJ seeks to build.  Newfoundland District Chief for the Mi’kmaq Grand Council Chief Mi’sel Joe and four professors from Newfoundland’s Memorial University are asking:  “Why are Indigenous Peoples’ worldviews not more involved in growing restorative justice’s approach? Could it be that they once offered insights, but a willingness to listen was missing?   Chief Joe’s invitation challenged panel attendees by forcing them to acknowledge how white-centric the field was. It encouraged people to question how a western perspective of restorative justice might be contributing to colonization.”  Here is a pointed reflection from the article:  ““When we talk about justice and injustice, that concept is not just spoken words. Injustice is about hurt and pain, so that brings in parts of our body, including the heart and soul. [This talking] includes body language [and] knowing someone is listening and caring. If you are listening from your core, you will understand the telling of these stories of justice and injustice.”

CBC News – Malone Mullin
N.L. is building a new jail. But without changes, advocates say the same old problems will persist – ‘We’re still taking all the problems … and moving them,’ says Cindy Murphy

Newfoundlanders have been hearing about an archaic and dilapidated prison for years – the provincial prison in St. John’s was built in mid-1800 and is badly in need of repair.  Even if one concedes the need for new infrastructure John Howard’s Cindy Murphy is equally conscious of the new wine and old wineskins problem:  “”If we just build a new prison and nothing changes, we only change geography,” she said.  “We’re still taking all the problems that currently exist in a facility and moving them to somewhere else. So we’ve got to get this right.”

The Tyee (BC) – Charlie Angus
The Dangerous Rewiring of Canadians’ Minds – The convoy blockades highlight the risk of a fact-free, conspiracy-filled future that could destroy our democracy.

Angus is basing his analysis of the state of far-right wing political proclivity and white supremacist parties on a recent Angus survey that found that “44 per cent of Canadians now believe that a secret group of elites is controlling elections, recessions and wars. Thirty-seven per cent are inclined to believe the racist “white replacement theory.”  Here are the questions that Angus, a long time MP for the NDP party, asks us about the future of our democracy:  “But given the Abacus polling, we need to ponder whether we are facing a more existential crisis in democracy. Is it possible to engage the public in important discussions about the future of Canada and the well-being of Canadians if they are convinced the media lies to them and their elected representatives are merely a front? How does one respond to a constituent if we can’t even agree on what is reality? If we cannot trust medical science in a pandemic, how can we possibly come together to address larger existential threats like the climate crisis?”

Ottawa Citizen – Donna Johnson
Intimate-partner violence — misogyny is built in to both our culture and our justice system – All the passes given to rapists, batterers and stalkers, all the obstacles to safety thrown in women’s paths — they are not happening by chance, but by design.

“During the course of the recent three-week inquest, three more Ontario women were murdered by their partners: Kinga Kriston, 55, of Collingwood; Vanessa Virgioni, 29, of Brampton; and Henrietta Viski, 37, of Scarborough. All were mothers. Viski was doused with gasoline and set on fire by her estranged husband. On the final day of the inquest, we learned a young Ottawa man had stabbed a mother and her two daughters after one of the girls said “no” to him. Anne-Marie Ready, 50, and Jasmine Ready, 15, died in that attack.”  Johnson reflects on the enabling systems in place to facilitate the physical and sexual assault of women and children:  “We pave the way for these atrocities by attitudes, policies and practices that consistently privilege the rights of assaultive men over women’s rights to live and raise their children in peace and security.”

Blogger Russell Webster –
Gun deaths in Europe

Webster’s column this time draws a comparison between gun deaths in European countries, specifically, and the US in the light of the most recent mass shooting.  The stats are for 2019 but seem steady.  In the US gun deaths are 4.12 per 100,000 population and in UK 40 times less.  The report also describes the way guns are trafficked and used in European countries.  He adds the issue of #D manufactured guns.  The link (scroll towards the bottom) also presents a number of related elements in the gun death analysis.

Twitter from Alex Karakatsanis

“THREAD. This is an urgent request for all journalists to stop referring to politicians who want to increase human caging as “tough on crime.” It’s like referring to Exxon as “tough on climate change.”  Karatatsanis continues his appeal for media (and advocates) to change the way they talk about police and crime – he fears “copaganda” in the protocols used by journalist to suggest how to refer to incidents.  (cf the string)

Associated Press – Michael Goldberg
Dire US labor shortage provides opportunity for ex-prisoners

This one of those encouraging news pieces that keeps wondering why it happened this way.  Employment is certainly easily recognized as a serious building block in rehabilitation yet it takes a labour shortage to prompt employers to create a second chance and to by-pass the secondary punishment of the criminal record as an obstacle to employment.  “Cynetra Freeman is the founder of the Mississippi Center for Reentry, an organization offering work readiness programs to inmates preparing to leave prison… Freeman remembers taking a bus to an employment agency the day after she was released from prison. She said the agency told her she would never get a job because of her record. “This crushed me and made me think about others who felt the same devastation,” Freeman said. “Employment is one of the toughest aspects for a person who is just returning home.”

Business (US) – Jason Lalljee
Meet a single mom who transformed her life through a guaranteed income program that gives her $1,800 every 3 months. It helped her get a car, a new job, and move into a better neighborhood for her daughter.

This article suggests that a basic income – in this case $1800 every three months – was enough for a life transformation.  Living in Compton, California, the basic income helped Christine, a single parent with her daughter get to a better place that included a job, a car, a new home, a new credit rating, and her daughter in day care – all while overcoming an infection of Covid.  “But in January 2021, Christine got an email that changed everything. It was from something called the Compton Pledge (The largest city-based annual income guarantee in the US) and it said that the city would send her $1,800 every three months, no strings attached.”