Feb 5, 2023 – Empowering Community…

Feb 5, 2023 – Empowering Community…


American Civil Liberties Union – Liberty Podcast – Kendall Ciesemier

The Untold Story of Black Pittsburgh’s Alternative to Police

The story is both historic and helpful in the process of imagining alternatives to current policing practices and the current wave of conversation about police reform.  The link, a 34 minute aural podcast celebration of Black History Month (Text also provided), is an interview with two players – John Moon, former Freedom House EMT and retired assistant chief of Pittsburgh’s Emergency Medical Service, and Brandon Buskey, director of the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project, who founded the first modern ambulance service to a Black community called the Hill District.   “…if Freedom House itself could drop off and deliver food to the residents of the Hill, why could they not deliver medical care?”  https://www.aclu.org/podcast/the-untold-story-of-black-pittsburghs-alternative-to-police


CBC News – Olivia Stefanovich

‘Clearly, something is wrong’: Correctional Service to review elder programs in prisons – An internal audit concluded elder services are unable to meet Indigenous offenders’ needs

Correctional Services Canada (CSC) are reviewing their elder service consequent to an internal audit that revealed inadequacies.  Elders – 120 – 140 of them – are employed by CSC to deliver faith based events and spiritual direction to the Indigenous population, some 32% of the total population.  The audit revealed that almost half the Elders reported exhaustion and overwork.  Harry LaForme, a retired judge from the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, said:  “I blame the corrections system because they don’t know how to measure the effectiveness.  They don’t even know what elders do in the community or in the prisons.”  Laforme thinks, given the numbers, there is a major problem in the preparation of Indigenous for parole and early release process.  https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/elder-services-audit-review-correctional-service-canada-1.6718061


CTV News – Daniel Otis

Justice minister open to amending bail laws, OPP commissioner says change ‘needed now’

The Feds are responding to a request from the provincial ministers of justice to review the bail laws in the face of the murder of OPP Constable Grzegorz Pierzchala by an accused who was already before the courts, bailed and had bail revoked without consequence.  Justice Minister and Attorney General David Lametti says he is open to amending bail laws but points out: “But it also underlines that it’s not simply federal Criminal Code amendments, it’s provincial administration,” Lametti said of the case. “He had breached his bail conditions and he was supposed to have been arrested and he wasn’t.”   Lametti also points out the revision to the bail laws in 2019 (Bill C-75) has already made it harder for those accused of domestic violence to get bail and has incorporated the new rulings from the Supreme Court of Canada.  Murray Rankin, a defense attorney reminds Canadians:  “Bail is the rule; remand and custody is the exception,” Murray Rankin said of the changes caused by Bill C-75. “It’s very hard, unless there are public safety issues, for our Crown counsel to put people away when there’s a good reason to believe they should be in custody to protect the community.” https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/justice-minister-open-to-amending-bail-laws-opp-commissioner-says-change-needed-now-1.6259864


Tweet from Dr. Rima Berns-McGown – On Islamophobia:  “Amira Elghawaby has already won. The tell is the QC gov wanting the job gone, not just her. This was never about her.
And what a demonstration of the Islamophobia they insist is not there Also, can we note her grace in the face of this witchhunt? Canada, this is embarrassing.
(https://twitter.com/beyrima/status/1621492690054516743?t=f5M-mLEsJSbMDHwxd20Y2A&s=03) Related article : Toronto Star – Susan Delacourt   Character assault. Contempt. This week showed us the ugly, sneering face of Canadian politics – Two prominent, respectable people landed in the crosshairs of this often toxic Parliament on Wednesday, and they didn’t stand a chance, Susan Delacourt writes.   https://www.thestar.com/politics/political-opinion/2023/02/02/character-assault-contempt-this-week-showed-us-the-ugly-sneering-face-of-canadian-politics.html?s=03

Tweet from Jeffrey Bradley – On bail reform:  “The public debates about bail reform are nothing more than a manufactured media manipulation to ramp up punitiveness and to promote copaganda. Police deaths are not rising and violence is not increasing significantly. Our bail system should be releasing more people!”


CTV News (Edmonton) – Sean Amato

If EPS, sheriffs try a hard crackdown on inner-city Edmonton it could make things worse: criminologist

Rather than spending more money on more police, Edmonton Police Services will have a partnership with the sheriffs for downtown policing.  Dan Jones, a former Edmonton police officer, now a Ph.D. candidate in criminology, sees the potential for making matters worse.  Says Jones:  “”There’s a potential that they’re actually creating harm rather than reducing harm. By that, I mean: zero-tolerance policing, also known as broken-windows policing, when you flood an area, blitz policing, those things don’t actually reduce crime and harm. The evidence is clear in the research.”  Sheriffs typically provide court and legislative building security and do traffic enforcement.  https://edmonton.ctvnews.ca/if-eps-sheriffs-try-a-hard-crackdown-on-inner-city-edmonton-it-could-make-things-worse-criminologist-1.6258027

Tweet from Prison_Health – On guns used in crime:   “First sweeping federal gun crime report in 20 years shows firearms bought legally are being used in crimes more quickly. The report also documents a spike in the use of conversion devices that make semi-automatic guns fire like machine guns.” (https://twitter.com/Prison_Health/status/1621569213348593664?t=UA4RWsfrwhT71XlTbJE25w&s=03)    Cf also https://t.co/nalm4E5LFB  (NBC News: The Associated Press   First sweeping federal gun crime report in 20 years shows firearms bought legally are being used in crimes more quickly   The report also documents a spike in the use of conversion devices that make semi-automatic guns fire like machine guns.    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/crime-courts/first-sweeping-federal-gun-crime-report-20-years-shows-firearms-bought-rcna68771

Twitter from New York Times – On what police reform works?  A discussion – about one hour – with phone in that examines the best ideas in police reform.  https://twitter.com/i/spaces/1dRJZMRbRmoGB


Toronto Star – Vinay Menon

A fake Montreal restaurant hit No. 1 on TripAdvisor. Will the internet ever stop eating our trust?  How much business was lost by Montreal restaurants pushed out of the Top 10 by Le Nouveau Duluth?

The element of disinformation is often closely linked to fraudulent or simply false information to help in scams.  Menon provides several examples of how the process involves the internet and how the deception plays out.  How far does the damage go?  “A 2021 report suggested 30 per cent of all customer reviews were fraudulent… Around the same time, the World Economic Forum calculated that, “fake online reviews influence $791 billion of e-commerce spending annually in the US, $6.4 billion in Japan, $5 billion in the UK, $2.3 billion in Canada and $900 million in Australia.”   There is, says Menon, no easy fix because we depend so much on the opinion of others.  https://www.thestar.com/entertainment/opinion/2023/02/02/a-fake-montreal-restaurant-hit-no-1-on-tripadvisor-will-the-internet-ever-stop-eating-our-trust.html?source=newsletter&utm_content=a10&utm_source=ts_nl&utm_medium=email&utm_email=404CAADEF7EB839FC77B1B04F0C251E1&utm_campaign=top_165340


Toronto Star – Victoria Gibson

On the front lines of the homelessness crisis, a downtown ER tries a novel new approach – St. Michael’s had 4,500 homeless patients last year. A new ER outreach team aims to end the cycle that keeps the same people coming through the doors.

Given that the need, even without the current freezing temperatures, consistently refuses to cede to the numbers involved, the Emergency Room at St. Mike’s has gotten together with other ER’s in the city to represent the crisis to city bureaucrats but the ER personnel have formulated a new element to their care as well:  “This crisis has led the hospital to try a new approach over the last year and a half — an emergency outreach team, funded by private donors, that connects ER patients with outreach workers who can stay in contact after patients leave the hospital. They can offer help with shelter or housing, but also take a long-term approach by connecting that person with primary health care, mental health and addiction support, legal assistance and food banks — all with hope of clipping the cycles that bring the same patients to their door repeatedly.”  https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2023/01/30/on-the-front-lines-of-the-homelessness-crisis-a-downtown-er-tries-a-novel-new-approach.html?source=newsletter&utm_content=a10&utm_source=ts_nl&utm_medium=email&utm_email=404CAADEF7EB839FC77B1B04F0C251E1&utm_campaign=lng_165335


Vox (US) – Ian Millhiser

It’s now legal for domestic abusers to own a gun in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi – We’re starting to see the fallout from the Supreme Court’s most recent Second Amendment decision.

A Texas state court determined in Feb 2020 that Zackey Rahimi was a real threat to his girlfriend after he assaulted her and the court imposed a weapons ban on him according to a federal ban on weapons for domestic abusers.  Now, a federal appeals court has ruled that the ban violates the second amendment.  Millhiser is saying that the ruling opens a can of worms for every restriction imposed by the courts, including the possession of firearms by convicted felons.  The ruling is subject to review by the US Supreme Court. https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2023/2/2/23583377/supreme-court-guns-domestic-abuse-fifth-circuit-second-amendment-rahimi-united-states