Curbing violence…

Jan 11, 2023 

Toronto Star – Jeffrey Bradley and Irwin Waller
Public safety comes from curbing violence, not just reacting to it – Smart investment in tackling the root causes of violence reduces the need for police responses after the fact. We urgently need to implement a plan.

The authors are contributors to the Star with a long practice of advocacy for effective crime prevention over punishment.  They are re-acting to Mayor John Tory’s proposal to give an additional %50 million to police for 200 more constables.  The say rather: “Tory has access to the knowledge and expertise to take a proactive approach that will reduce violence by 50 per cent before 2026. This requires smart increases in funding for outreach to youth, caseworkers working with victims of violence, education curriculum to change attitudes, creating training and jobs, basic income incentives, mentoring and trauma counselling.”  Related article: – Jeff Shantz   Canadian Police-Involved Deaths in December 2022

The Conversation (Queen’s) – Ted Rutland
Two years after the defund the police movement, police budgets increase across Canada

“In fact, my research shows police budgets have continued to increase in all major cities. There are, however, big differences in the ways cities have addressed spending on policing since 2020, and there are small signs of change that could be built upon in the future.”  Rutland includes a commentary on actual spending by police vs budgeted amounts.

Criminological Highlights (Volume 20, Number 4; January 2023) – Anthony Doob and Rosemary Gartner, U of T

The eight papers that are summarized in this issue address the following questions: 1. What are the risks when financial obligations are imposed on people who have been found guilty?  2. When does the supervision of people on probation become counter-productive?  3. Are prisoners suffering mental illness targeted for placement in solitary confinement?  4. How can the impact of victimization on feelings of being unsafe be reduced?  5. How do housing policies contribute to crime?  6. Does “neighbourhood policing” affect crime and how the police respond to it?  7. What concerns need to be addressed when thinking about implementing a program that has been “proven effective” in some other community?  8. What happens to refugees in a country after there is a terrorist attack?

Toronto Star – Krisna Saravanamuttu
I grew up around gun violence. Policing hasn’t taken us out of the crisis before, and it won’t now – The proposed $50-million budget increase to Toronto police doesn’t prevent or address the root causes of violence

Recalling the infamous ‘summer of the gun (2005), Saravanamuttu says:  “None of it was normal. Now, I can see that violence was the culmination of policy decisions marked by decades of cuts to services in our communities. We — the victimized and the victimizers — were on the losing end of austerity budgets that pushed us out as we contended with poverty, food insecurity and precarious work… We were left to fend for ourselves in a powder keg of complex trauma, drug use, and street violence.”  She thinks that Mayor Tory is continuing to ignore the problems:  “The mayor has a responsibility to address the causes of violence… Structural poverty and racism breed gun violence in our neighbourhoods, and the budget process forces us to ask what truly keeps us safe. We can no longer afford to try to police our way out of this crisis.”

Tweet from CoSA : On sex offenders registry   “The Supreme Court of Canada ruled on October 28, 2022, that a 2011 change to the Criminal Code requiring that people who have committed sexual offences to automatically be added to the sex offender registry is unconstitutional. (1/4)

Youtube: Criminologist says police criticisms of justice system ‘deeply troubling’ | APTN News – Justin Piché of University of Ottawa and Criminal Punishment Education Project (CPEP)

Tweet from Eric Reinhart (US) On Violence:  The US has a huge violence problem that’s perpetuated by a dominant definition of violence that reduces it to interpersonal acts while erasing its relationship to systemic economic violence driving high rates of homelessness, healthcare exclusion, distrust, anger, & desperation.

Tweet from Rebecca Kavanagh: On six year old criminals   “A six-year-old child is incapable of forming the requisite criminal intent to commit any crime, let alone purposefully shooting a gun at his teacher.  The fact that the state has this child in custody is more frightening than that he had access to a gun.”  Guardian (UK) – US Desk   Virginia shooting of teacher by six-year-old ‘not accidental’, authorities say – Boy in custody after shooting wounds teacher in abdomen during an altercation, according to authorities
(  Cf also new report from the Sentencing Project (US) – Richard Mendel  Why Youth Incarceration Fails: An Updated Review of the Evidence (A 34 page downloadable pdf with an executive summary)

domestic abuse, Blogger Russell Webster (UK) On new standards for domestic abuse perpetrator interventions    Seven standards have been developed, and each of the 7 standards are linked to practice guidelines… The report was written by: Professor Nicole Westmarland (Durham University Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse) and Professor Liz Kelly (London Metropolitan University Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit).

CBC News – Ellen Mauro, Melissa Mancini
Untraceable 3D-printed ‘ghost guns’ on the rise in Canada – CBC found that more than 100 3D-printed firearms were seized by police in 2022

Want a gun?  You can print one with a 3D printer from your computer that works well.  In fact, it may work better because it is untraceable.  “3D-printed guns fall into a category of homemade firearms referred to as “ghost guns,” in part because they are untraceable… They have no serial number, because the printed part of the gun is the receiver, the part of the weapon that is regulated in Canada. The other parts of the gun can be purchased at gun stores and online without a firearms licence… Plans for producing these firearms are easily available online, and the item can be made using a consumer-grade 3D printer.”

The Lawyer’s Daily – Jo-Anne Stark
Tragic consequences of non-disclosure agreements

The non-disclosure agreement is a condition frequently in settlements around employment and resolution of sexual assault allegations and has the potential to effectively stifle any further comment on the incident or the settlement.  Originally meant to protect trade secrets, the NDA has now “became a tool used by organizations, corporations and public bodies when they investigate complaints of sexual misconduct and human rights violations. In fact, its use has become commonplace even within unions.”  The Canadian Bar has before its AGM a resolution looking to promote awareness of the abuse of the NDA.