On progress…

Oct 3, 2022

CBC News – Truth and Reconciliation Count
Beyond 94 – Truth and Reconciliation in Canada

The link is to a program tracking the responses to the 94 recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  “The site provides up-to-date status reports on each call to action, as well as extensive summaries explaining those status reports. It includes in-depth features and short video documentaries that tell some of the community stories behind the calls to action. It also features residential school survivors sharing their experiences.”  The site fact verifies, and cross references federal funding while identifying responses as either ‘not started,’ ‘in progress – projects proposed,’ ‘in progress projects underway,’ or ‘completed.’    https://newsinteractives.cbc.ca/longform-single/beyond-94?&cta=1   Related article: CBC News -Peter Zimonjic   The reconciliation project is making progress — but not quickly enough for many – Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Mark Miller said he does ‘think things have gone slowly’   https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/reconciliation-national-day-progress-calls-to-action-1.6601179   Related article: CBC News Heather Hiscocks –  Indigenous educator on why this day matters   https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/2078943811519/   Related article: Global TV News – Heather Yourex-West   Indigenous-led healing program tackling ‘epidemic’ of violence, abuse  https://globalnews.ca/news/9159213/indigneous-led-healing-program-epidemic-violence-abuse/   Related article: Salmon Arm Observer – Christine van Reeuwyk    From residential school to prison, B.C. man has come a long way in healing journey – Decades of addiction led Vancouver Island artist John Prevost to help others https://www.saobserver.net/news/from-residential-school-to-prison-b-c-man-has-come-a-long-way-in-healing-journey/

 Politico (Canada) – Maura Forrest
RCMP’s use of facial recognition extends well beyond Clearview AI – A document tabled in Parliament reveals other surveillance tools Canada’s national police force has used to fight human trafficking and child sexual exploitation.

RCMP at first denied the use of the Clearview Artificial Intelligence facial recognition software and later acknowledged its use before Clearview cancelled the contract and withdrew from Canada over parliamentary private concerns about mass surveillance.  Now the RCMP is acknowledging that it uses two other such software tools – Traffic Jam and Spotlight, the one designed for human person trafficking and the other for child molester identification.  RCMP claims to be doing an internal review “But Kate Robertson, a criminal lawyer and research fellow at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, said an internal review is “not sufficient… to ensure that human rights are protected.” She said police forces should be transparent about the novel surveillance tools at their disposal, and Canada should establish “clear and proportionate limits on the use of those technologies.”   https://www.politico.com/news/2022/09/30/rcmps-facial-recognition-clearview-ai-000

 The New Yorker (US) – James Burns and Shal Ngo
Survivors of Solitary Confinement Tell Their Stories in “The Box”

James Burns and Shal Ngo’s documentary short offers a window into the harsh reality of solitary confinement—and the long-term scars that it leaves.  “Burns and his fellow-narrators, Five Mualimm-ak and Pamela Winn, share their stories as actors relive their experiences onscreen. These threads are slowly woven together, and as they coalesce viewers are confronted with the sheer cruelty that the three faced during their combined nine years in isolation. Cries for help are met with violent disregard, and this only further accelerates their deterioration. In solitary confinement, human touch becomes as precious as water in the desert. In one particularly affecting scene, as the actor playing him is violently beaten by guards, Burns says that “having punches being rained down on you was better than not having any contact at all.”  https://www.newyorker.com/culture/the-new-yorker-documentary/survivors-of-solitary-confinement-tell-their-stories-in-the-box?fbclid=IwAR1mmnRq-krTGkNs3m2P57Yt1e8EPnZJgO4i5RUy9Lu1v2XwZsg_-S402Jk  Related article: The Washington Post (US) – Theresa Vargas   They’re in federal prison, and they’re done staying quiet – One D.C. man in a federal facility describes a ‘revolving door of death and depression’ in a new report that offers a unique look into the nation’s prisons   https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2022/10/01/federal-prisoners-speak-out-report/   Related article: The Marshall Project – Life Inside – Michael J. Nichols   How I Survived a Year in ‘the Hole’ Without Losing My Mind – In prison, going to “the hole” can mean spending 23 hours a day alone in a tiny cell. Here, incarcerated author Michael J. Nichols shares his top 10 tips for enduring long stretches of “administrative segregation.”  https://www.themarshallproject.org/2022/09/30/how-i-survived-a-year-in-the-hole-without-losing-my-mind

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)  (US)  Ayomikun Idowu, Allison Frankel, Yazmine Nichols   
Three People Share How Ankle Monitoring Devices Fail, Harm, and Stigmatize – The authors of the ACLU’s new report interviewed three different people about their experiences on ankle monitors. Here’s what they shared.

The ACLU reports a significant increase in the use of electronic monitoring devices from 2005 – 2015 and then a further increase when jurisdictions began to use the device as an alternative response to Covid in jails and prisons.  Electronic monitoring also exacerbates systemic inequities along lines of race, class, and disability. For example, in Detroit, Black people are two times more likely than white people to be electronically monitored. Depending on the jurisdiction, fees to wear these monitors range from $3-$35 a day, often in addition to initial setup charges, which can range from $100 to $200. The expensive fees compound and can amount to hundreds of dollars per month, overburdening households already dealing with the return of loved ones from incarceration. Furthermore, research shows that the stigma, social isolation, and stress that results from being monitored exacerbates depression and anxiety for wearers.”  https://www.aclu.org/news/criminal-law-reform/ankle-monitoring-devices-fail-harm-and-stigmatize  ACLU full report:  Rethinking Electronic Monitoring: A Harm Reduction Guide  https://www.aclu.org/report/rethinking-electronic-monitoring-harm-reduction-guide

NBC News (US) – Christopher Cicchiello
How Hawaii brought its population of girls in prison to zero – A focus on rehabilitation and building a support system, including addressing past traumas, led to the success — and could be a model for other states, experts say.

For the first time ever, there are no girls incarcerated in the state youth correctional facility, a remarkable feat given that incarceration of women is significantly on the increase in many jurisdictions.   Mark Patterson, Hawaii’s Department of Youth Services director:  “For Patterson, who came to the youth facility after running Hawaii’s Women’s Community Correctional Center, reducing the girls population required decreasing the number of young people put on probation, as violators often got sent to his facility. It also meant addressing the fact that they were the “most vulnerable of the high-risk” and often had suffered heavy trauma related to things like sexual exploitation, abuse at home or exposure to drug addiction, he said… When I talk about zero girls in the system, it’s because it was a conscious effort to focus on a particular profile of girls in our systems,” Patterson said.” Girls’ court, a supportive environment, positive role models, and trauma informed care are among the tools used to end the incarceration of the girls. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/hawaii-brought-population-girls-prison-zero-rcna41532

National Public Radio (US) – Lauren Hodges
What it’s like serving a life sentence in prison with no chance of release

NPR presents four individuals sentenced to LWOP in an assessment of the effectiveness of sentences without even what Canadians call ‘the faint hope clause.’  The focus is on Angola Prison – Louisiana State Penitentiary.  The interviews are meant to allow an understanding of the impact of a life in prison without hope of ever being released.  It is also inviting readers to the film called the Visiting Room.  https://www.npr.org/2022/10/01/1125359297/prison-jail-inmate-life-sentence-the-visiting-project-louisiana   The Visiting Room Project – https://www.visitingroomproject.org/introduction     Related article: The Guardian (UK) – Charles Kaiser   What’s Prison For? Concise diagnosis of a huge American problem  (The article features Bill Keller, founding editor of the Marshall Project, and describes the focus of Keller’s latest book.) https://www.theguardian.com/books/2022/sep/30/whats-prison-for-review-bill-keller-marshall-project?CMP=share_btn_tw   Related article: The Marshall Project (US) – Jamiles Lartey   What an Alabama Prisoners’ Strike Tells Us About Prison Labor – Exploitation of incarcerated people isn’t limited to lockups. Voters in some states have a chance to curtail it.   https://www.themarshallproject.org/2022/10/01/what-an-alabama-prisoners-strike-tells-us-about-prison-labor   Related article: Rolling Stones Magazine – Tana Ganeva   ‘We Are Human Beings’: Alabama Prisoners Strike to Protest Abusive Conditions, Excessive Sentencing – Inmates across the deep-red state are refusing to work, demanding better treatment and an overhaul of out-of-whack standards that offer little chance of rehabilitation   https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/alabama-prisoner-strike-work-stoppage-1234603401/

 The New England Journal of Medicine – Elizabeth Tobin-Tyler, J.D.
A Grim New Reality — Intimate-Partner Violence after Dobbs and Bruen

The link offers a commentary on the intersection of abortion debate and the incidence of intimate partner violence (IPV).  “Perhaps most shocking, the Dobbs decision allows states to ban abortion altogether, without clear exceptions for cases in which the abortion is necessary to protect the pregnant person’s health, the pregnancy resulted from rape, or the pregnancy endangers a person’s safety owing to IPV. Because IPV is a process involving the systematic use of intimidation and physical injury to gain power and control over a partner, reproductive coercion is a common component. For people experiencing IPV, an unintended pregnancy may result from coercion, sexual violence, or an abusive partner’s sabotage of contraception; an abusive partner may also threaten harm if a pregnant person seeks an abortion. Understandably, people are often reluctant to notify an abusive partner about a pregnancy or when they seek an abortion.”  https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp2209696#.Yzpl3KcZzLY.twitter

 Tweet from Dab Lavoie: (US)  On Copaganda

“I knew that network TV had a lot of police/fire shows….but I didn’t quite realize that those shows just dominate everything this much. 12 of the top 15 broadcast shows this year are police or fire shows. Only a single sitcom ( @TheNeighborhood) breaks the top 15.”  The stats on TV shows suggest a strong support for copaganda or a media bias that generates continuing support for traditional policing and expanding roles / funding for policing.   https://twitter.com/djlavoie/status/1576608487991189504?s=03

Tweet from Kari Blakinger (US):  On prison cell phones

“It’s wild what prisoners ACTUALLY do w/contraband phones vs. what prisons fear they’ll do. I just talked to a guy who’s using his to teach other guys computer science.  “We’re using Harvard’s CS50 materials,” he said. “That professor @davidjmalan  I think he’s one of the best.” ” https://twitter.com/keribla/status/1576630583286853632?s=03