• Addressing poverty, not policing, is solution to gun violence

    Providing opportunities, programs and social supports for daycare aged children as young as two, all the way through to assisting youth to pursue post-secondary education, it is resources rather than enforcement that go a long way to address poverty… Decades of research… all highlight the need to support and not punish our communities.

  • After legalizing pot, is decriminalizing other drugs the logical next step?

    … Public-health officials have long recognized a reality that elected politicians are only belatedly appreciating: Drug use and dependency are best addressed with the tools of health policy, not those of criminal justice… decriminalization… upholds worthwhile social norms – that making, smuggling and trafficking illegal drugs is wrong – while acknowledging that those in the grip of dependency are ill.

  • Health officials in B.C., Toronto call for widespread decriminalization of illicit drugs

    … compared with criminal charges, diversion programs can reduce criminal justice system costs and reduce adverse social and economic consequences for the individual. A 2008 study from Australia found that the majority of participants without prior offences did not commit further offences and those with prior offences had reduced rates for reoffending after participating in the program. Under decriminalization… it would remain illegal to manufacture, sell and distribute illicit drugs.

  • The refugee ‘crisis’ originates far from our borders

    … in 2017 just over 50,000 asylum claims — irregular or otherwise — were processed. Yet somehow a population that is less than one per cent of Canada’s population has come to constitute a “crisis.” If there is any crisis, it is one of political will and compassionate policy.

  • How the underfunding of legal aid is clogging up the justice system

    “It should be obvious to any outside observer that the income thresholds being used by Legal Aid Ontario do not bear any reasonable relationship to what constitutes poverty in this country”… With the heightened scrutiny on delays in the criminal justice system, which can lead to cases being tossed for violating an accused person’s right to be tried within a reasonable time, one area that experts have said warrants further attention is the chronic underfunding of legal aid.

  • As gun violence spikes, Toronto faces a reckoning on the root causes of tragedy

    “The feeling of disadvantage and unfairness leads the poor to seek compensation and satisfaction by all means, including committing crimes… These kids feel a sense of social isolation. They don’t feel part of anything,” … There’s growing consensus that gun and gang violence is not a problem the city can arrest its way out of.

  • More police are not the solution to Toronto’s gun violence

    The answers from the communities affected are often to avoid cowboy policing, and to address the roots of gun violence. These answers are backed by plenty of studies showing that, for example, funding for local community services and neighbourhood partnerships goes a long way to disincentivizing crime. Reducing gun violence is only possible when the root factors of crime itself – broken neighbourhoods, inequality of opportunity, educational gaps and so on – are meaningfully addressed.

  • Number of police officers per Canadian hits 13-year low, Goodale told

    … there were roughly 69,000 police officers in Canada on May 15, 2017 — about 188 officers for every 100,000 Canadians. It’s a slight drop from the 2016 policing strength rate and the sixth consecutive annual drop… While the ratio of police officers to citizens is decreasing, the briefing note to Goodale notes the number of civilians working for police forces is growing. About 30 per cent of all police service personnel are not police officers

  • Nearly half of youth incarcerated nationwide are Indigenous: Statistics Canada

    Policy decisions, such as mandatory minimum sentences, have had a disproportionate impact on Indigenous communities… [despite] bail reform, restorative justice efforts and culturally appropriate initiatives. The justice system cannot stand alone in curbing the trend of incarcerating Indigenous youth, he suggested. Tackling poverty, unemployment or underemployment, poor housing, addictions and mental illness would make a large difference

  • MMIWG inquiry gets six-month deadline extension to finish its work

    … the extension will ensure more people can share their experiences with the inquiry, while still “underscoring the urgency” of its final report… extra money will depend on staffing and other costs that the inquiry will identify… The due date for the inquiry’s final report — meant to probe the “systemic causes” of violence against Indigenous women and girls and make recommendations to the government to address them — is now April 30, 2019.