• Senate report offers valuable roadmap to tackling court delays

    “Delaying Justice is Denying Justice” makes 50 recommendations for how to address the crisis… governments would be better served tackling the roots of the crisis… introducing technologies “that facilitate cooperation, permit increased information sharing and improve efficiency.”… that judges be given better training on case management… [and that] incarceration should be a last resort and that less punitive and costly alternatives should be given priority.

  • Senate report on court delays gets at big truths about criminal justice system

    … if a country is smart on community safety, the first order of business is to acknowledge that most offenders don’t belong in prison except for those who commit violent crime — convicted murderers, rapists, child abusers, etc. The committee never explicitly says that prison should be for the few, not the many, but it’s that principle that drives its cry for reform – for better ways to handle impaired driving offences, for more restorative justice, for alternatives to jail.

  • It’s time to fix solitary confinement. Here’s how

    … here is the minimum that pan-Canadian standards must accomplish in order to be meaningful… “Solitary confinement,” or “segregation,” … is an amorphous concept in Canada… With a consistent definition and proper training, prison staff will be able to better track how long inmates are being kept in solitary… Stop putting mentally ill people in solitary… Require independent oversight… Legislation, not guidelines

  • Doctors tortured patients at Ontario mental-health centre, judge rules

    Patients at a maximum-security mental-health facility in Ontario were tortured by medical doctors over a 17-year period in unethical and degrading human experiments, a judge has ruled in a lawsuit. The techniques used on the patients between 1966 and 1983 included solitary confinement, as treatment and as punishment; the administration of hallucinogens and delirium-producing drugs, including LSD; and brainwashing methods developed by the CIA

  • Ontario must limit use of solitary confinement

    … while Ontario’s prison population dropped by 11 per cent over the last 10 years, the number of inmates held in segregation actually went up by 24 per cent. Disturbingly… the share of segregation cells occupied by prisoners with mental health issues increased from 32 per cent to 45 per cent between 2015 and 2016 alone… The aim should be to ensure that prisoners leave jail rehabilitated, not broken.

  • Solitary confinement: Why is Ontario willing to do what Ottawa won’t?

    Prisons are challenging places, and correctional officers prefer to govern with flexible discretion and no external interference. But the issue is that inmate isolation is a practice that engages fundamental human rights and dignity. As Mr. Sapers puts it: “the decision to place a person in segregation results in the most complete deprivation of liberty authorized by law.” In a country like Canada, this is properly the stuff of careful rules and external oversight.

  • 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…”