• Once again, our prison system fails. And this time it’s the victims of crime who suffer

    When a prison fails to keep peace, order and good government inside, and fails to rehabilitate offenders, it hurts both inmates and society. And when criminals are ordered released early, not for good behaviour but as a form of compensation for the state’s bad behaviour, the justice system fails crime’s victims.

  • Howard Sapers to head segregation review

    An independent review of segregation in Ontario jails will be headed by Howard Sapers, who has served as Canada’s correctional investigator and inmate ombudsman for more than a decade… Sapers will not only look at solitary confinement, but also how to improve the correctional system overall… Alternatives to segregation can include a “more therapeutic environment,” additional time spent outside of the cell and fewer restrictions on an inmate’s movement.

  • Homelessness: Family about to lose their homes can avoid shelters, a London project proves

    Moms or dads will often call a shelter like Rotholme to say they’re about to lose their apartment or a relationship is breaking up and they will need a place to stay… “Knowing that people contact the shelter creates an opportunity. Instead of saying, ‘Yes come down in three days or next week, what if the dialogue changed to say, ‘What can we actually do to prevent this from happening?’ ”

  • Toronto’s rising murder rate is no reason to panic

    Like many other largely safe cities, Toronto contains neighbourhoods beset by profound, often socially rooted problems… like many across North America, is grappling with the rising “propensity to use firearms”… The problems of crime and violence are best addressed with the community, not against it… much-needed modernization will be rooted in three principles – “trust, accountability and transparency.”

  • Quebec better at keeping poor families afloat

    The slashing of Ontario Works or disability benefits does indeed force parents into deeper poverty and can limit their chances to get their kids back if they have faced the deep misfortune of having them apprehended… Imagine what would take place if large numbers of Ontarians demanded a kinder and more just system of fair and stable employment, more affordable housing options and an affordable daycare system? The time for citizens to demand positive change is now.

  • New indigenous court system could set precedents across the country

    Imagine a legal system where the goal wasn’t punishment, but to “restore relationships and harmony in the community.” … a court system with that very purpose has been operating in the Mohawk community of Akwesasne since Aug. 12… the Justice Department is holding talks between the federal, Ontario and Quebec governments to draft a framework to recognize the new legal system… The court could set a good precedent for other indigenous communities and there is much that federal and provincial courts could learn from it.

  • Government must act to end racism in children’s aid system

    … four in 10 children in the care of the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto are black in a city where only 8 per cent of children are. Worse, the problem is not just in Toronto, but throughout the province… Ontario’s children’s minister, Michael Coteau, refused to promise any funding to implement the report’s 18 important recommendations to address issues of racism in the system. This is unacceptable.

  • Changes to children’s aid system are a promising start

    … the overly complex system of 47 children’s aid societies responsible for more than 15,000 kids in foster care and group homes is a mess that puts at risk the well-being, and sometimes the very lives, of children in its care. Now, finally, after a decades-long hands-off approach, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services has a plan to overhaul the system… [they] have been left to operate in silos without sufficient oversight and direction from the provincial government.

  • Think tank releases report card on Canada’s justice system

    … there’s an awful lot of people being dragged through the Ontario criminal justice system who are ultimately having their charges stayed, withdrawn or acquitted. That is costing millions of dollars to the province but it’s also plugging up the system so that really important cases don’t make it through… And, in fact, there’s no national statistics that you can get broken down by province and territory on recidivism rates

  • Don’t even think of housing foster kids in jails

    … children whose families ran out of money for housing were twice as likely to be placed with foster parents or group homes, according to an analysis of Ontario children taken into care in 2013… more than 90 per cent of the families [Native Child and Family Services of Toronto] works with are poor. “The state intervenes on behaviour associated with poverty, but never gets to the poverty itself.” … aboriginal children… are also 168 per cent more likely to be taken from their homes and placed into care.