Friday, December 8, 2017

Office of the Attorney General of Canada - Preparing Women Offenders for Release - Correctional Service Canada
"Correctional Service Canada (CSC) is responsible for the safe and secure custody of women offenders serving sentences of two years or more, and for preparing them for successful reintegration into the community upon release. It must also adopt programs and policies that are responsive to the unique needs of women offenders, including Indigenous women....

This audit focused on whether Correctional Service Canada assigned and delivered correctional programs, interventions, and mental health services to women offenders in federal custody—including Indigenous women offenders—that responded appropriately to their unique needs and helped them successfully reintegrate into the community."

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Why are Women Prisoner Numbers Rising so Rapidly? 
"   ICPR [has] released the most comprehensive global dataset ever produced on women prisoner numbers. The fourth edition of [the] World Female Imprisonment List – published on 9 November – shows that the world’s female prison population has increased by about 53% since 2000. In comparison, the male prison population has gone up by around 20%. Numbers of women prisoners are rising in every continent of the globe, with significant increases reported in both developed and less developed countries....

For virtually every country across the globe, the List gives information on the total number of women and girls in prison; the percentage of that country’s prison population comprised by women; and the number of imprisoned women and girls per 100,000 of the national population (the ‘prison population rate’). The List also includes information about trends in female imprisonment, at national, regional and continental levels. For most countries, the List gives trend data back to 2000 and at intervals since. (On the World Prison Brief website, trend data going back much further in time are available for many countries’ overall imprisonment levels.)"

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10 Gun Violence Prevention Victories Since Sandy Hook
"Nearly five years after a mass shooter murdered 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook elementary school, Republican politicians are still blocking any attempt to pass tougher federal gun control laws.

The lack of congressional action has prompted outrage, despair and a sense that the gun debate is intractable.

But outside Washington, at the state and local level, the fight to prevent gun violence is anything but over. Here are 10 victories since 2013 in the fight to prevent gun deaths and save lives – including a major effort led by the gun industry itself."

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Homicide in Canada, 2016
"In Canada and other countries, the homicide rate is often considered as a benchmark for levels of violent activity. Homicides remain a rare occurrence in Canada, accounting for less than 0.2% of violent crimes reported by police in 2016, yet their occurrence can negatively impact feelings of safety within communities. While Canada reported a small decrease in the homicide rate in 2016, some areas of Canada saw an increase in homicides involving gangs and firearms."

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Young Offenders, Trauma-Informed Work & Social Media
"On the 26 October HMI Probation published a thematic report on the public protection work of Youth Offending Teams. The inspection focussed on young people convicted of violent or sexual offences or who were assessed by the YOT as presenting a high risk of serious harm to the public. Headline findings included the high levels of trauma in the lives of those young people and also the extent that social media was featuring in the build up to offences involving violence. Commentary on the report tended to focus on either trauma or social media but rarely both. During fieldwork, it was apparent to inspectors that trauma features extensively in young people’s history and social media extensively in their current lives. The report argues that work with young people will have most impact if it takes account of both these issues."

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When Ex-Convicts Become Criminologists
"...Over the past few decades, some ex-convicts have turned to academia, aiming to put their experience 'inside' to good use. They use their knowledge of the criminal justice system to select research questions and design studies. They use their history to gain prisoners’ trust. And they work to counteract what they see as a strong bias in academic criminology toward the perspectives of authorities in the criminal justice system."

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Going to Pot? The Impact of Dispensary Closures on Crime
"...The idea that marijuana dispensaries attract crime has proved influential with policymakers. For example, an Oregon state senator argued that a law allowing cities to ban dispensaries was important to 'empower them to protect our children and families.' In Los Angeles, the setting for this study, the city council cited crime in its 2010 decision to cap the number of dispensaries in the city. Yet, empirical evidence to support any link (positive or negative) between marijuana dispensaries and crime is quite limited."

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 What Were You Thinking? How Jurors Read Your Guilty Mind
"A central tenet of Anglo-American penal law is that in order for an actor to be found criminally liable, a proscribed act must be accompanied by a guilty mind. While it is easy to understand the importance of this principle in theory, in practice it requires jurors and judges to decide what a person was thinking months or years earlier at the time of the alleged offense, either about the results of his conduct or about some elemental fact (such as whether the briefcase he is carrying contains drugs). Despite the central importance of this task in the administration of criminal justice, there has been very little research investigating how people go about making these decisions, and how these decisions relate to their intuitions about culpability. Understanding the cognitive mechanisms that govern this task is important for the law, not only to explore the possibility of systemic biases and errors in attributions of culpability but also to probe the intuitions that underlie them."

View the Full Study
 

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Portugal's Radical Drug Policy Is Working: Why Hasn't the World Copied It?
"...In 2001...Portugal became the first country to decriminalise the possession and consumption of all illicit substances. Rather than being arrested, those caught with a personal supply might be given a warning, a small fine, or told to appear before a local commission – a doctor, a lawyer and a social worker – about treatment, harm reduction, and the support services that were available to them.

The opioid crisis soon stabilised, and the ensuing years saw dramatic drops in problematic drug use, HIV and hepatitis infection rates, overdose deaths, drug-related crime and incarceration rates.... It’s misleading, however, to credit these positive results entirely to a change in law.

Portugal’s remarkable recovery, and the fact that it has held steady through several changes in government – including conservative leaders who would have preferred to return to the US-style war on drugs – could not have happened without an enormous cultural shift, and a change in how the country viewed drugs, addiction – and itself. In many ways, the law was merely a reflection of transformations that were already happening in clinics, in pharmacies and around kitchen tables across the country. The official policy of decriminalisation made it far easier for a broad range of services (health, psychiatry, employment, housing etc) that had been struggling to pool their resources and expertise, to work together more effectively to serve their communities."

Related Article: Canadian Cannabis Proposed Licensing System Revealed

 

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HM Chief Inspectorate of Prisons: Staffing Problems Impact Negatively on Children in Custody
Staffing problems meant far too many boys were locked up in cells nearly all day in young offender institutions, according to an annual report by HM Inspectorate of Prisons on the experiences of detained children aged 12 to 18.

Though the numbers who had felt unsafe in YOIs had fallen from a record high level in 2015–16, surveys in 2016–17 still found almost 40% had felt unsafe. Children in secure training centres (STCs), home to a larger number of under-16s, generally felt safer than those in YOIs but a fifth said they had no-one to turn to if they had a problem.

And in 2016–17, across both types of custody, there were disproportionate numbers of black and minority ethnic children, and children from Gypsy, Romany or Traveller communities, compared to their representation in the general population.  Children with disabilities and mental and emotional health problems, and with backgrounds in local authority care, were also held in high numbers.

The report – Children in Custody 2016–17summarised findings of surveys distributed in HMIP inspections in the year.

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Why Police Body Cams Aren't What They Seem To Be
"Somewhere between one-fifth and one-half of U.S. police officers are wearing body-worn video cameras. It’s hard to tell the exact number, but we know the number is rising.

Body cams, which clip to the uniform or headgear of an officer, and are intended to capture the officer’s-eye-view of incidents, have been called the most important solution to police transparency in America. But as a recent podcast of our Quality Policing series shows, it’s worth looking beyond the rhetoric.

'Today I think I have found the solution that will help law enforcement officers and our citizens go home safe,' Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) said in 2015. 'That solution [is] body-worn cameras to be worn by our law enforcement officers throughout this country.'

There was literally no evidence that this was true."

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U.S. Crime Rate Stable, Victimization Survey Says
"As reported by crime victims, the national crime rate last year remained about the same as the 2015 total, the U.S. Justice Department’s National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) reported on Thursday.

In 2016, the survey said, residents aged 12 or older experienced 5.7 million violent victimizations, a rate of 21.1 per 1,000 persons.

The previous year, the same survey reported five million violent victimizations, a rate of 18.6 per 1,000 people.

However, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) which compiled the survey, said the new report did not establish a crime increase because the methodology changed during the year."

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China: Police Big Data Systems Violate Privacy, Target Dissent
"The Chinese government should stop building big data policing platforms that aggregate and analyze massive amounts of citizens’ personal information, Human Rights Watch said today. This abusive 'Police Cloud' system is designed to track and predict the activities of activists, dissidents, and ethnic minorities, including those authorities say have 'extreme thoughts,' among other functions.

China has no enforceable protections for privacy rights against state surveillance.

'It is frightening that Chinese authorities are collecting and centralizing ever more information about hundreds of millions of ordinary people, identifying persons who deviate from what they determine to be ‘normal thought,’ and then surveilling them,' said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch. 'Until China has meaningful privacy rights and an accountable police force, the government should immediately cease these efforts.'”

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Friday, November 3, 2017

Ontario Strengthening Police Oversight, Redefining Core Police Duties
"Sweeping changes to Ontario's policing laws were introduced Thursday, including strengthening oversight, making it possible to suspend officers without pay and redefining police duties.

The new rules, contained in a massive piece of legislation years in the making, would include the first update to the province's Police Services Act in more than 25 years.

'The issues faced by police services and their members today are far more complex than when the act was developed,' said Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Marie-France Lalonde. 'The last time the act was revised, there was no internet, the Blue Jays won the World Series and you needed a briefcase to carry your cellphone.'
Many of the policing updates stem from Appeal Court Justice Michael Tulloch's report on police oversight, released earlier this year, and include requiring the Special Investigations Unit or SIU, one of the province's police oversight agencies, to report publicly on all of its investigations and release the names of officers charged."

Ontario Ombudsman: Submission to the Independent Police Oversight Review

Report of the Independent Police Oversight Review

 

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