• Ontario must make bail reform meaningful

    If you own a house, have a job, and have family or friends who can pledge a sizable sum of money and act as supervisors, you are likely to soon be on your way home… immigrants, the mentally ill, racialized groups, and the poor stand the least chance of being released on bail. Despite remaining wholly innocent under the law, they lose their freedom for months or years as the criminal process plays out.

  • What to do about the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in prisons

    Between 2007 and 2016, while the overall federal prison population increased by less than 5 per cent, the number of Indigenous prisoners rose by 39 per cent… In fact, for the last three decades, there has been an increase every single year in the federal incarceration rates for Indigenous people. While they make up less than 5 per cent of the Canadian population, today they represent 26.4 per cent of all federal inmates.

  • Mentally-ill female inmates housed in male facility: report

    … Mr. Zinger focused on the conditions of confinement in Canada’s federal prisons, which “serve no underlying correctional or rehabilitative purpose.” … women with serious mental-health issues are more likely to be placed in maximum-security units, which are “far from therapeutic,” and noted nearly half the maximum-security population in women’s prisons is Indigenous… While Indigenous people make up less than 5 per cent of the total population, they comprise 26.4 per cent of the total federal inmate population,

  • Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin on sex assault cases: ‘No one has the right to a particular verdict’

    … while the system seems focused on the accused, “complainants and victims are also part of the process,” and the integrity of the system demands that they be taken seriously and that their interests be reconciled with the rights of the accused… The justice system can achieve a “fine but crucial balance” between protecting the right of the accused and the dignity of complainants, but “we must not divide ourselves into warring camps shouting at each other…

  • Mr. Trudeau, stop the residential school to solitary confinement pipeline

    Canadian prisons are filled with people who carry the deepest of traumas from a young age. Many of the incarcerated are disproportionately Indigenous people, and about a third of all prisoners who are isolated in segregation cells are Indigenous… Justin Trudeau’s government speaks of reconciliation for past wrongs, but doesn’t seem to recognize its responsibility for the traumatic legacy it actively perpetuates within its own prisons.

  • Ontario’s jails can’t even count their dead, review finds

    “If the purpose of corrections is to contribute to a peaceful and just society by assisting those in conflict with the law to learn to live within it, then the work of corrections must be done in a way that models ethical, legal and fair behaviour,” Sapers says. Ontario’s corrections work doesn’t. It models slop, neglect and randomness.

  • Ontario’s correctional system needs overhaul, report says

    … across the country, and globally, correctional facilities “have put in place a range of measures to help facilitate family contact and support, including child-friendly play spaces, open visiting areas that allow for barrier-free interactions, private family visiting accommodations for longer stays, and mother-child programs that prevent the separation of mothers and young children.
    “Ontario’s correctional institutions offer almost none of these opportunities.

  • How to Win a War on Drugs

    … let’s be clear on what Portugal did and didn’t do. First, it didn’t change laws on drug trafficking: Dealers still go to prison. And it didn’t quite legalize drug use, but rather made the purchase or possession of small quantities (up to a 10-day supply) not a crime but an administrative offense, like a traffic ticket. Offenders are summoned to a “Dissuasion Commission” hearing — an informal meeting at a conference table with social workers who try to prevent a casual user from becoming addicted.

  • Canada suffers from unimaginative government. Here are some radical ideas

    There is no serious discussion of health-care reform, though Canada is one of the few countries in the world that claims to ban private medicine. We are in fact rationing medical care for many victims of chronic health problems, and have failed to advance any policy option except throwing more tax-paid funds at the question… There has been no attempt to make welfare and poverty-reduction more effective…

  • The Trudeau government should not delay on sentencing reforms

    The Harper government’s crackdown on crime, even as crime continued its steady, decades-long decline, drove up the cost of the criminal justice system by billions of dollars and increased the federal prison population by 25 per cent… They have clogged our prisons, drained the public coffers, unnecessarily criminalized minor offenders and contributed to a national crisis of court delays that profoundly undermines both justice and public safety.