Friday, May 6, 2016

Alberta Releases Report into Suicide Deaths of 7 Indigenous Youth
"...The Alberta report — Toward a Better Tomorrow: Addressing the Challenge of Aboriginal Youth Suicide — found common factors among the suicides of Indigenous young people.

'Each young person's life was marked by a pattern of complex trauma due to exposure to parental addictions and family violence,' Graff wrote.

'Some of these children were exposed to suicidal behaviours. Most were identified as having emotional disturbances. Most experienced numerous placement moves.'

All of the youths in the study were either receiving child intervention services at the time of their death or had in the two years preceding it....

The report said suicides are a leading cause of death among Indigenous youths. More than a third of all deaths among Indigenous young people are attributed to suicide — and they are five to six times more likely to be affected by suicide than the general population."

View the Report


Ottawa Housing for Homeless Will Need Little Energy
"A low-income housing provider in Ottawa is showing that ambitious and even extreme climate targets aren't a luxury just for the rich.

Ottawa's Salus Corporation, a non-profit serving people with mental health and housing challenges, is set to unveil what could be North America's largest energy-neutral building, certified by the European Passivhaus organization to require almost no additional heating beyond the sun, the earth, and its occupants' own physical activity."

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Gutting Habeas Corpus: The Inside Story of How Bill Clinton Sacrificed Prisoners' Rights for Political Gain
"On the eve of the New York state primary last month, as Hillary Clinton came closer to the Democratic nomination, Vice President Joe Biden went on TV and defended her husband’s 1994 crime bill. Asked in an interview if he felt shame for his role passing a law that has been the subject of so much recent criticism, Biden answered, 'Not at all,' and boasted of its successes — among them putting '100,000 cops on the street.' His remarks sparked a new round of debate over the legacy of the crime bill, which has haunted Clinton ever since she hit the campaign trail with a vow to 'end the era of mass incarceration.'

A few days later, on April 24, a lesser-known crime law quietly turned 20. The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 — or AEDPA — was signed by Bill Clinton in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing. While it has been mostly absent from the recent debates over the crime policies of the ’90s, its impact has been no less profound, particularly when it comes to a bedrock constitutional principle: habeas corpus, or the right of people in prison to challenge their detention. For 20 years, AEDPA has shut the courthouse door on prisoners trying to prove they were wrongfully convicted. Americans are mostly unaware of this legacy, even as we know more than ever about wrongful convictions. Barry Scheck, co-founder and head of the Innocence Project, calls AEDPA 'a disaster' and “a major roadblock since its passage.'Many would like to see it repealed.'"

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Economic Perspectives on Incarceration and the Criminal Justice System
"Calls for criminal justice reform have been mounting in recent years, in large part due to the extraordinarily high levels of incarceration in the United States.  Today, the incarcerated population is 4.5 times larger than in 1980, with approximately 2.2 million people in the United States behind bars, including individuals in Federal and State prisons as well as local jails.  The push for reform comes from many angles, from the high financial cost of maintaining current levels of incarceration to the humanitarian consequences of detaining more individuals than any other country.

Economic analysis is a useful lens for understanding the costs, benefits, and consequences of incarceration and other criminal justice policies.  In this report, we first examine historical growth in criminal justice enforcement and incarceration along with its causes.  We then develop a general framework for evaluating criminal justice policy, weighing its crime-reducing benefits against its direct government costs and indirect costs for individuals, families, and communities.  Finally, we describe the Administration's holistic approach to criminal justice reform through policies that impact the community, the cell block, and the courtroom."

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The Secret Rules of the Internet: The Murky History of Moderation, and How it's Shaping the Future of Free Speech
"...Today, YouTube’s billion-plus users upload 400 hours of video every minute. Every hour, Instagram users generate 146 million "likes" and Twitter users send 21 million tweets. Last August, Mark Zuckerberg posted on Facebook that the site had passed "an important milestone: For the first time ever, one billion people used Facebook in a single day."

The moderators of these platforms — perched uneasily at the intersection of corporate profits, social responsibility, and human rights — have a powerful impact on free speech, government dissent, the shaping of social norms, user safety, and the meaning of privacy....

While public debates rage about government censorship and free speech on college campuses, customer content management constitutes the quiet transnational transfer of free-speech decisions to the private, corporately managed corners of the internet where people weigh competing values in hidden and proprietary ways."

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As States Expand Gun Rights, the Police Object
"Guns in bars. Guns in airports. Guns in day care centers and sports arenas. Conservative state lawmakers around the country are pressing to weaken an array of gun regulations, in some cases greatly expanding where owners can carry their weapons.

But the legislators are encountering stiff opposition from what has been a trusted ally: law enforcement.

In more than a dozen states with traditions of robust support for gun ownership rights, and where legislatures have moved to relax gun laws during the past year, the local police have become increasingly vocal in denouncing the measures. They say the new laws expose officers to greater danger and prevent them from doing their jobs effectively."

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Don't Treat Young Adults as Teenagers
"Over the past dozen years, the Supreme Court has issued several landmark decisions affirming that adolescents and adults are fundamentally different in ways that justify treating minors less harshly when they violate the criminal law. The court, drawing on psychological and brain science indicating that people under age 18 are not yet fully capable of controlling their behavior, abolished the juvenile death penalty and greatly restricted life without parole sentences for crimes by juveniles. As scientists and legal scholars who specialize in these issues, we have welcomed these changes with enthusiasm.

But in recent months, a number of advocates have sought to extend the developmental immaturity argument to young adults, proposing that the age of juvenile court jurisdiction be raised to 21 from 18, where it now stands in almost all states. This idea has gained some real-world traction....

Such reform, though well intended, is premature at best. While considerable scientific evidence supports the distinction that the Supreme Court endorsed between adolescents under age 18 and adults, research on the maturity of young adults (i.e., those between 18 and 21) is at an early stage. We know that brain maturation continues past age 18, but it is not clear that the brains of 20-year-olds are so immature that they should be treated as if they are teenagers."


Prisons are Using Military-Grade Tear Gas to Punish People
"... Mount Olive is just one of dozens of prisons nationwide turning to chemical agents for control as labor shortages, private incentives, and intense marketing drive prisons to supplement overworked guards, in overcrowded prisons, by relying directly on pain.

 'Most of these weapons are designed by the military,' says Dr. Rohini Haar, a medical expert with Physicians for Human Rights, “and they’re designed for military uses. But the military, especially the US military, is a limited market. So the next step for companies that are trying to make a profit off these weapons that they design is to sell them to one, law enforcement and police, and two, to prisons.

 'And as there’s more and more attention being paid to social protest and police brutality, prisons are becoming a bigger market for these. Because they’re sold quietly, there’s less regulation, and the market is there.'"

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