Friday, May 11, 2018

What's So Special About Canada? 
Presentation by Director Audrey Macklin for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on the private sponsorship of refuges.


 

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Canada's Success in Reducing Youth Imprisonment in the Last Two Decades is Evidence that Reform of the Justice System is Possible, with the Political Will
"On an average day in 1997, 3,825 young people (ages 12 to 17) were serving sentences in Canadian youth prisons. By 2015, that number had decreased to 527, an 86 percent reduction. This is a drop from 157 per 100,000 12- to 17-year-olds to 23. Canada’s successful decrease in the number of youths serving sentences in prison may provide lessons that can be applied to other areas of public policy. Specifically, it may help us understand Canada’s failure to reduce substantially its rate of adult imprisonment and also that of youth pretrial detention."

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Modern Policing in Ontario
"Ontario has officially passed the Safer Ontario Act, updating the Police Services Act for the first time in 25 years. The Agenda speaks to Peter Sloly, former Toronto Police Service deputy chief, Ian Scott, former head of the Special investigations Unit, and sociology professor Awkwasi Owusu-Bempah to discuss modernized policing in the province and the role police should have in Ontario."

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When Mayhem Comes to Town
"Following Monday's deadly van attack in Toronto, Alek Minassian has been charged with 10 counts of murder and 13 counts of attempted murder. The incident has raised difficult questions about ,toxic masculinity,, online communities that attract disenfranchised people, and gaps in mental health support systems. The Agenda welcomes sociologists Judith Taylor and Jooyoung Lee, and author Jamil Jivani to discuss the rise of vehicular homicide, self-described incels, and the search for answers when mayhem comes to town."

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Busted by Big Data: Algorithms Could Make Cities Safer - But They Can't Protect Us From Policing's Worst Instincts 
"By combining huge tranches of data and highly sophisticated algorithms, predictive policing appears to hold out the science-fiction promise that technology could, one day, spit out 100 percent accurate prophecies concerning the location of future crimes. The latest iteration of these analytics can’t ID a killer-to-be, but it can offer insight into what areas are potential sites for crime by drawing on information in everything from historical records to live social-media posts.

The technology, however, has raised tough questions about whether hidden biases in these systems will lead to even more over-policing of racialized and lower-income communities. In such cases, the result can turn into a feedback loop: the algorithms recommend a heightened police presence in response to elevated arrest rates that can be attributed to a heightened police presence.

Andrew Ferguson, who teaches law at the University of the District of Columbia and is the author of The Rise of Big Data Policing, goes further. He says that current predictive systems use social media and other deep wells of personal information to predict whether certain offenders may commit future crimes—an Orwellian scenario. Canadian governments and civilian oversight bodies, however, have done little to establish clear policies differentiating appropriate and inappropriate uses for these technologies. It is little wonder that critics are becoming increasingly concerned that police departments fitted out with big-data systems could use them to pre-emptively target members of the public. Can we really trust crime fighting to an algorithm?"

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Childhood Crimes From Over 30 Years Ago Show in DBS Checks - Study
"Nearly half a million childhood convictions from more than 30 years ago have been disclosed on criminal record checks in the past five years, research has found.

A further half a million criminal records relating to convictions more than 30 years ago when the person was a young adult aged 18 to 25 were disclosed in the period, according to data uncovered by the charity Unlock.

Its report, A Life Sentence for Young People, also reveals the findings of a survey of people with convictions and cautions, which shows 86% of respondents had a problem with employment later in life. About two-thirds also reported problems with stigma and discrimination."

View the Report

 

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The Labor Force and Output Consequences of the Opioid Crisis
"This study examines the labor market and economic consequences of the opioid crisis. While previous studies have estimated economic costs of the opioid epidemic, none has taken into account the most significant way opioid dependency is likely impacting the U.S. economy: its impact on labor force participation. This study measures the direct cost on the economy of opioids leading workers out of the labor force. Specifically, it estimates the number of workers who are absent from the labor force due to opioids, the loss of hours at work, and the resulting decline in real output."

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How "Buy American" Mood Boosts Private Sector Use of Prison Labor
"The populist slogan 'Buy American' increasingly means buying goods produced by America’s thriving prison-based industries, says a new paper.

'The public sentiment against outsourcing has…offered prison labor programs unique opportunities for expansion under the rubric of providing a competitive alternative to low-cost foreign workers,' writes Lan Cao, a professor of international economic law at the Dale E. Fowler School of Law at Chapman University.

Cao argues that the increasing use of low-wage or free prison labor by companies seeking to manufacture in the US also calls for a re-examination of claims that such labor is rehabilitative for inmates on the grounds that it provides 'moral, psychological, and economic benefits to prisoners and communities.'

Instead, Cao maintains, the economics of prison labor programs, which are strongly focused on productivity and cost reductions, suggest that rehabilitation is at best a secondary goal to generating profit."

View the Full Report
 

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