• Judge exposes how we criminalize mental illness

    From arrest to prosecution, conviction, sentencing, use of segregation, all stages of our criminal justice system are now consistently overrepresented by people who are suffering from psychosis, mania, mood disorders, depression, alcoholism and addiction, anxiety disorders, and personality disorders… While there is no panacea, the better way is to ensure people get help when they need it, before they are at risk of homelessness, unemployment, or conflict with law.

  • It’s high time to track and reduce the use of solitary confinement

    Among his recommendations: That the province set a standardized definition of segregation so it can properly track it. That a new tracking system be created that actually works. That independent panels review all segregation placements — with an onus on the ministry of community and correctional services to show that each placement is justified…

  • Ottawa should fix perversely punitive pardon policy

    … the pardon policy has created an unjust cycle of disadvantage without yielding any apparent benefits. Released offenders often require a pardon before they can travel, get a job or find housing. By denying the rehabilitated their earned right to re-enter society, the new pardon rules inevitably increase the burden on the welfare system, not to mention the likelihood of recidivism.

  • Why Discrimination Is a Public Health Issue

    … black and Indigenous children are more likely to be placed in foster care and remain in care longer. They are more likely to drop out of school. In Ontario, they are three times more likely to be incarcerated than non-blacks… The high mortality rate of black men and women is traumatizing and takes an emotional and psychological toll because we see our brothers, sisters and fathers in the victims. “The thing is that as a community, when one bleeds, we all do…”

  • Make Canada great. It’s in our hands, not Trump’s

    … Australia spends just 9 per cent of GDP on health care. If Canada spent that little, we’d be saving more than $20-billion a year… How can we rethink our prison system, so that offenders, many of whom have mental health and addiction issues, get treatment and education and become less likely to reoffend? … Canada’s prosperity, though improved by American proximity and the efficiencies of trade, is not determined by it.

  • Needle exchanges in federal prisons can save money and lives

    It is simply unfeasible for CSC to lock down a prison to such a degree that no drugs will ever get inside… The problem is that inmates using injectable drugs share the limited number of contraband needles and syringes available to them. People in federal prisons are consequently far more likely to acquire AIDS/HIV or hepatitis C than the general population. They arrive in prison healthy and leave with chronic diseases that cost society millions of dollars to treat. Sometimes, they die.

  • Abolish solitary confinement for Ontario’s children and youth

    “… whatever the name, solitary confinement should be banned by States as a punishment or extortion technique,” UN Special Rapporteur on torture Juan E. Méndez told the UN General Assembly in 2011… It doesn’t matter if you call it solitary confinement, administrative segregation, secure de-escalation, or anything else. Let’s just call it something we used to do, that we don’t do anymore.

  • Keeping the mentally ill out of solitary, and out of prison

    … medical facilities and professionals have been in such short supply in both federal and provincial prisons that those with mental health issues are often held in solitary because prison staff don’t know what else to do with them… it’s welcome news that the province plans to hire 239 more staff for its 26 prisons to care for mentally ill prisoners, as well as taking steps to keep them out of prison, never mind solitary, in the first place.

  • 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.