Stop the prison…

Sept 12, 2022

Campaign to Stop the Proposed Kemptville Prison – Justin Piché, U of Ottawa
Residents are raising funds in support of their legal action against the Ford government to stop the project

In August 2020, the Ford government announced its plan to build a new 235-bed provincial prison on the grounds of the former Kemptville Agricultural College. The decision was made without consulting residents or the municipality of North Grenville where the proposed Kemptville prison is located. Since then, opposition to the proposed prison situated roughly an hour from Ottawa where most people imprisoned there will be from should it be built has grown, yet the province has not wavered. Last month, Victor Lachance (Coalition Against the Proposed Prison) and Kirk Albert (Jail Opposition Group) filed a Notice of Application for a Judicial Review of the Ford government’s proposed plan. They are seeking a Prohibition Order to save the farmland in a context of food insecurity and climate catastrophe, and to stop the prison from being built. Their lawyer, Stéphane Émard-Chabot, contends “that when the provincial government announced in August 2020 that it planned to build a correctional complex on farmland of the former Kemptville Agricultural College they broke the law by not abiding by its own Provincial Policy Statement and the local Official Plan, as it is obliged to do under the Planning Act”. Click the links below to learn more about this potentially precedent setting case and how you can donate to support this litigation.

Email Zap:
Press Release:

Ottawa Citizen:
CBC News:
CTV News:
Toronto Star:
Ottawa CityNews:
CBC All in a Day:
iHeart Radio:  Justin Piché link:

The Marshall Project (US) – Anastasia Valeeva, Weihua Li and Susie Cagle
Rifles, Tasers and Jails: How Cities and States Spent Billions of COVID-19 Relief – President Biden’s signature American Rescue Plan Act gave local governments $350 billion to recover from COVID-19. They spent much of it on police, prisons and the courts.

Almost $101 billion of the $350 billion given to local governments to fight Covid-19 – through the American Rescue Plan Act – has been diverted to the cost of police and prisons.  This astounding news was even possible because many municipal governments have a budget item called revenue replacement, to which they diverted the Covid funds then used for police, personnel salaries, new equipment, prisons, etc.  “While the Treasury Department’s lax reporting requirements make it difficult to track exactly how much was spent on law enforcement, corrections and courts, a Marshall Project review of the latest data shows that billions of dollars flowed to the criminal justice system by the first quarter of 2022, from covering payroll to purchasing new equipment. So far, governments have allocated $101 billion of the total $350 billion.”   More than half of the total ARPA money flowed into municipal general accounts.

Washington Post – Ruth Marcus
A Texas judge mounts a new assault on privacy rights

As reported, the preventative drug benefits for the LGBTQ community is under threat from a Texas judge, Jonathan Mitchell, who ruled that because the insurance company owner objects to homosexual behaviour on religious grounds, his company does not have to comply with the provision of HIV preventative drugs.  The case and ruling has enormous implication for all sorts of medical treatment, especially under the Affordable Care Act.

Human Rights Watch
DNA Surveillance in Tibet

Beyond the political strains between China and Tibet already well known, this statement from Human Rights Watch about surveillance and biological data collection from whole segments of the Tibetan population is chilling.  Police are collecting DNA samples through blood samples from entire populations of towns and regions without any consent or even explanation about why they doing so.  Equally chilling is the possibility that the collections, as previously reported by Human Rights, are linked to prediction of criminal behaviour.   “From what we know, people cannot decline providing their DNA to police, and authorities do not need evidence of criminal conduct to warrant such collection… And it’s not just Tibet… In 2017, we reported on how Chinese authorities in the Xinjiang region were collecting DNA samples, fingerprints, iris scans, and blood types of all residents between the age of 12 and 65, ostensibly for a “public health” program. As in Tibet, there was no indication that residents in Xinjiang could opt out of the data collection.”

Traverse City Record Eagle (MI) – William T. Perkins and Elizabeth Brewer
Views differ on police department social worker

The question of police reform has included versions of police and social worker combining to respond to 911 calls, especially those involving mental health crisis.  Social workers generally see the arrangement as difficult in the face of power efforts to control and manage the scene.  The article pursues a compromise based on if the call is human behavioural related.  The critical element is probably the response to and the hand-off of the 911 call.  Related article: American Medical Association – Tanya Albert Henry  Why asking about social determinants of health is so important

Blogger Russell Webster (UK)
Domestic violence perpetrators and neurodiversity

The link affords a look at some new research around the perpetrators of domestic violence who are neurodivergent – autistic or attention deficit disordered.  There appears very little actual international study using sufficient numbers.  The authors do not think that the autism or ADD cause domestic violence but rather that the patients struggled with interpretation of the immediate environment and saw training in inclusiveness as needed.  Neurodivergent people need to realize that there is a social openness to them and their opinions or they come off as belligerent.  But victims likely also need special help to understand the neurodivergent side of the perpetrator of domestic violence.   Full article:  Durham University: Dr Nicole Renehan and Professor Kate Fitz-Gibbon   Domestic violence perpetrator programmes and neurodiversity

Twitter from Dr. Jen Wolkin on trauma:

“Trauma did NOT make you stronger. It made you hyper-vigilant and scared of even calm and joyful experiences. YOU make yourself stronger through the work of discerning between real and perceived threat.”

Further to trauma: “Neuroception refers to our ability to distinguish whether situations or people are safe or dangerous. When we’ve experienced trauma, our amygdala grows, and our ability to discern is lost. As we heal our trauma we Rewire Our Brains and Recalibrate our Neuroception!”  (Cf string: )