Grasping at the human side of mass incarceration

Much has been made of the Conservative push stateside for prison reform. Where “soft-on-crime” statements have historically sounded a death knell for politicians – with Republicans the frequent beneficiaries – US Conservatives are now generating significant political capital under the Right on Crime banner. As the Economist stated, “Driving these reforms is a simple factor: cost.” In this excellent New York Times opinion piece, Michelle Alexander explains the developments as a response “to the changing tide [of] perceived white interests.” Continue reading

Posted in Prisons, Race, Tough-On-Crime

Alex Himelfarb: True North becoming ‘wrong and mean’

The Mark features a lengthy critique of the Harper Government’s plans to reshape Canada’s justice system (more at National Post and Huffington Post) by York University professor and former Privy Council clerk, Alex Himelfarb. Blogging here, Himelfarb’s strike is coherent and comprehensive. More than that, he delivers about the closest thing you’ll get to a cri-de-couer from us hyper-rational Canucks. Continue reading

Posted in Tough-On-Crime

Media reconnects guns and hip-hop

I had linked to an earlier Toronto Star story about the trial of a Toronto rapper, P.Reign, on gun charges. While P.’s lawyer, Eddie Greenspan, was apparently unsuccessful with his various Charter applications, the defence still achieved the desired result, with P.Reign acquitted of all nine firearms charges he was facing. Continue reading

Posted in Guns, Hip-Hop

Asset forfeiture efforts ramp up

This article in the Province reports on the British Columbia government’s attempts to increase the forfeiture of assets connected with crime. Asset forfeiture refers to the process by which the government endeavours to confiscate property which it can prove has been obtained by, or used in, criminal activity. The governing statute in Ontario is called the Civil Remedies Act, which came into force in 2002 and was the first such law of its type in Canada. Continue reading

Posted in Economics, Tough-On-Crime