Sept 28, 2023 – Dysfunction…

Sept 28, 2023 – Dysfunction…

Toronto Star – Daniel Brown

Our justice system has lurched into total dysfunction – Ontario seems keen on keeping its court system in a perpetual state of semi-starvation through chronic underfunding while relying on the justice system’s players to pick up the slack.

Brown, a criminal defence lawyer and president of the Criminal Lawyers’ Association, ought to know and if the comprehensive account on the status of the criminal legal system is anywhere near accurate, there is a huge cause for concern and a need for immediate steps to correct the myriad of problems identified.  The future, without remediation is equally dismal, says Brown.


BC Tyee – Jen St. Denis and Katie Hyslop

The Homophobia, Racism and Conspiracy Theories on Display at ‘Parents’ Rights’ Rallies – What it means for BC and Canada. And why it’s important to fight back. 

Advertised as a protest for parental rights in matters of the sexual orientation of their children, the actual event, 1 Million March 4 Children, both in Vancouver and other places, quickly degenerated into prejudice and slurs of various kinds, including racial and anti-LGBTQ2S+, when anti-March protestors showed up.  The pro and counter protests did little to assure proper care for the children and framed the discussion in political tensions as the political advantage became the goal.


Maytree Foundation – Alan Broadbent and Elizabeth McIsaac

Governments should see social assistance as a solution, not a problem

The clawbacks, the rules and regulations to make sure no one is taking advantage, the distrust and inflexibility of the welfare system have been a key element frustrating both social workers and advocates.  Now the revelation: the approach is driving the system by design to control costs.  “…that social assistance is a problem rather than an opportunity to solve a problem. People in government tend to see social assistance as “a draw on government resources rather than as an opportunity for governments to make a positive change in people’s lives,” Jennefer Laidley added.  ““Social assistance is an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to ensure that people have adequate incomes and can live lives of health and dignity and participate in the labour market as much or as little as they’re able.”

Law 360 (Canada) – David Dorson

Prison defies the senses

Dorson is the pen name of a person who suffered incarceration and writes about the experience around unusual topics.  In this one, Dorson presents prison through sight, sound, smell and most importantly, who you can and can’t touch.  “Prisons are ugly environments for all the senses. Sounds, sights, smells and taste are all impoverished and that makes everything else harder. In no prison will you find the things that we use in our homes to make them more liveable — splashes of colour, art, the use of wood or cloth to provide visual relief, comfort and to soften sound.”


CBC News – The Canadian Press

Quebec Public Security Ministry probes domestic violence bracelet failure – The offender got close to the victim without triggering the alarm

Quebec’s Public Security Ministry is calling an incident “an isolated event” but it took a 911 call to confront the immediate risk.  Quebec is the first province to use the new bracelet to assist in cases of domestic violence.  “Authorities say normally, when an offender gets too close, it sets off an alert to the monitoring centre and triggers a series of protocols ensuring the victim’s safety — but in this case the suspect was arrested by police after a 911 call.  The technology is made up of two devices that are linked — an ankle bracelet worn by the accused or offender and a mobile application installed on a cellphone given to the victim.”  The Quebec ministry expressed confidence in the system and technology.


TED Talks (US) – Kimberlé Crenshaw

The urgency of intersectionality

The talk raises a focus on how discrimination may be experienced in the crossover between race and gender.  Crenshaw, professor of law at UCLA and Columbia Law School, offers an insight on a silent and ignored side of racial discrimination when the other side of the race coin is woman; many do not see this “framing problem” which distorts our social experiences and adds to social injustice, especially around encounters with police resulting in lost lives.  Crenshaw calls for action staring with the practice of ‘saying her name.’ The Link offers both a powerful video (19 minutes) and a transcript.  (The video may be a helpful discussion starter around blindness of violence against women.”)  Related article: The Conversation (Queen’s) – Laura Doering, András Tilcsik, and Jan Doering    Hidden in plain sight: Women face subtle forms of discrimination and bias in the workplace


National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation – University of Manitoba Truth and Reconciliation Week 2023 (Sept 25-30)

It’s not just a part of who we are as Survivors – it’s a part of who we are as a nation.  Reconciliation starts with education:  (Also known as Orange Shirt Day – Sept 30)

Journal of Prisoners on Prisons: Published: 2023-08-01   (Canada / University of Ottawa)

Volume 32, Number 2 (2023) is a general issue of the Journal of Prisoners on Prisons (JPP) edited by Kevin Walby and Justin Piché. Dedicated to the memory of former JPP Dialogue Editor Sarah Speight, the collection features contributions on various issues, including life sentences and barriers to obtaining parole, the perils of prison reform, institutional culture, facility crowding, education initiatives, as well as homophobia and transphobia behind bars. The cover art was created by Peter Collins. Click here to order a printed copy of the full issue through the University of Ottawa Press.