Better neighbours…

Sept 26, 2022

Governor Jay Inslee (Washington State)
How Norwegian prisons prepare inmates to become better neighbors

“Much about Norway’s famous prisons stands in contrast to American impressions of incarceration. The opinion of the Norwegian parliament is that loss of liberty is punishment enough. In their view, the goal of prisons must be to prepare incarcerated people to function in society upon release. The Norwegian Correctional Service believes that people go to court to get punished, and they go to prison to become better neighbors.”  Related article: NPR (US) – The Visiting Room Project  (A project to hear what Life without Parole means to those serving the sentence)  Related article: The City (NY) – Sam Mellins  Judge Frees Man From Rikers in Exceptional Decision Citing Bail and Jail Conditions – The ruling, which isn’t binding on other judges but will surely be noted by them, was based on the 2019 bail reform law’s requirement judges consider “ability to post bail without posing undue hardship.”

Ottawa Citizen – Jeffrey Bradly and Irvin Waller
Bradley and Waller: Ottawa needs to invest in proven crime prevention techniques – Some believe more police equals less violence, but the facts do not support this view.

As municipal elections get closer, votes concerned about public safety and crime are tempted to return to a failed equation: more police, greater police budgets, bring more public safety.  Not so say Bradley and Waller, tow long time anti-violence advocates:  “While some voters believe that more police equals less violence, facts do not support this view. Indeed, if more police and prisons made cities safer, U.S. cities would be the safest in the world, which they are not… In 2019, the Ontario Police Services Act was changed to require Ottawa and every municipality in Ontario to develop a community safety plan. The Act requires cities to identify and act on factors contributing to “crime, victimization, addiction, drug overdose and suicide.” But Ottawa’s plan omits any focus on street violence or the upstream prevention of sexual and gender-based violence.”  Ottawa, they say, should be investing in actions to stop violence before it happens:  “…hiring and training social workers and mentors to reach out to young men before they engage in violence; recruiting case workers to join surgeons in hospital emergency rooms to ensure that victims of violence do not come back;  helping young men with problem-solving skills and emotional regulation to control the anger and toxic masculinity that too often leads to injuries to others; providing opportunities for job training and jobs in areas where the violence originates.”

BC Tyee – Christopher Cheung
Crime and the Vancouver Election: As some campaign on ‘law and order,’ the province rolls out a new report on repeat offenders. We break it down.

A report commissioned by the BC Government and the Urban Mayors Caucus is suggesting nuancing the impact of repeat offenders on the crime stats and what ought to be done about it.  “…the province needs to invest heavily in non-police crisis supports to help people committing repeat offenses to break out of that cycle. It’s a small group of people who are proportionately committing repeat offenses, according to the report.”  The report also nuances the impact of the Covid pandemic on a drop in crime rates and offers an analysis of concerns for political campaigns and what the party platforms say about crime.

CBC News – Ian Urbina, The Outlaw Oceans Project Podcast
Is the world’s deadliest profession also among the most violent?  Thousands of deaths take place each year at sea — and much of it is a lawless frontier

The profession is fishing and the suggestion by Urbina is that usual estimate of over 30,000 deaths every year may be closer to over 100,000 or as many as 300 a day and all outside the jurisdiction of anyone willing to investigate or prosecute.  This report, from both the CBC and the LA Times, the deaths are also linked to human rights issues around forced labour:  “The number of deaths at sea — including killings — remain extremely hard to assess. The typical estimate has been around 32,000 casualties per year, making commercial fishing among the most dangerous professions on the planet. A new estimate is more than 100,000 fatalities per year — or more than 300 a day, according to research produced by the Fish Safety Foundation and funded by the Pew Charitable Trust.”  Urbina offers four recs to begin accountability.

CNN (US) Rob Kuznia, Photographs by Andrea Ellen Reed
Once nicknamed ‘Murderapolis,’ the city that became the center of the ‘Defund the Police’ movement is grappling with heightened violent crime

The link offers an assessment of where the city of Minneapolis is on a civic ballot to defund the police.  The ballot was prompted by the May 2020 death of George Floyd and fizzled in November when the largely Black populations of the city voted 56% to not defund, while the city police morale sagged and lost approximately one third their number.  The number of murders is up significantly and the 911 response time is also up significantly.  While the situation threatens to encourage vigilantism, some are beginning to suggest that the people don’t want to get rid of cops.  They just want respectful cops.  Related article:   Bloated police budgets do nothing to stop sexual violence—they increase it – The recently passed UN’s international sexual assault bill of rights relies on carceral responses to state-exacerbated violence

Fox News (KTVU) (US) – Lisa Fernandez
Dozens of women detail rape and retaliation at Dublin prison, real reform is questioned

The Federal Correctional Institute at Dublin, California, is highlighted for its ability to question if real reform is even possible in the arena of incarcerated women suffering sexual assault from prison staff. Five officers are already charged but the impact is likely making matters worse for the incarcerated women:  “… there’s been greater media attention paid to Dublin, a crackdown on communication, it’s been harder to get calls and visits,” Beaty said. “We’ve had legal mail intercepted again and again. That’s always been an issue at Dublin. But it’s gotten worse. And I think part of that is an attempt to prevent the public from speaking with survivors and prevent survivors from telling their stories.”   Related article: CBC News Dylan Robertson   Joly raises abortion, sexual violence in closing UN speech – ‘We will fight for your full meaningful participation in all walks of life,’ said Joly