Friday, November 25, 2016

"Callous, Cold and Deliberately Duplicitous": Racialization, Immigration and the Representation of HIV Criminalization in Canadian Mainstream Newspapers
"This report explores mainstream Canadian newspaper coverage of HIV non-disclosure criminal cases in Canada. It pays particular attention to how defendants’ race and immigration status figure into the newspaper representations of such cases. We empirically enquire into claims that African, Caribbean and Black (ACB) people living with HIV are negatively portrayed and overrepresented in Canadian newspaper stories about HIV non-disclosure cases. Our analysis is based on what, to our knowledge, is the largest data set of news coverage of the issue: a corpus of 1680 English-language Canadian newspaper articles about HIV non-disclosure criminal cases in Canada written between 1 January 1989 and 31 December 2015. Our quantitative and qualitative findings show that Canadian mainstream newspapers are a source of profoundly stigmatizing representations of ACB men living with HIV. For example, Black immigrant men living with HIV are dramatically overemphasized in Canadian mainstream newspaper stories about such cases. While these men account for only 15% of defendants charged they are the focus of 61% of newspaper coverage. Mainstream newspapers rely on forms of language that transfer a long history of exaggerated connections between criminality, race, sex, and otherness to the site of HIV. The result is that ACB men living with HIV are repeatedly represented as dangerous, hypersexual, foreigners who pose a threat to the health and safety of individuals (White women) and, more broadly, the imagined Canadian nation."
 
Pleading the Case: How the RCMP Fails to Justify  Calls for New Investigatory Powers
"A pair of articles by the Toronto Star and CBC have revealed a number of situations where the authors report on why authorities may be right to ask for new investigatory powers. A series of cases, combined with interviews with senior RCMP staff, are meant to provide some insight into the challenges that policing and security agencies sometimes have when pursuing investigations. The articles and their associated videos are meant to spur debate concerning the government’s proposal that new investigatory powers are needed. Such powers include a mandatory interception capability, mandatory data retention capability, mandatory powers to compel decryption of content, and easy access to  basic subscriber information. 

This post does not provide an in-depth analysis of the aforementioned proposed powers. Instead, it examines the specific ‘high priority’ cases that the RCMP, through a pair of journalists, has presented to the public. It’s important to recognize that neither the summaries nor underlying documents have been made available to the public, nor have the RCMP’s assessments of their cases or the difficulties experienced in investigating them been evaluated by independent experts such as lawyers or technologists. The effect is to cast a spectre of needing new investigatory powers without providing the public with sufficient information to know and evaluate whether existing powers have been effectively exercised."
  
These Professors Make More Than a Thousand Bucks an Hour Peddling Mega-Mergers
"If the government ends up approving the $85 billion AT&T-Time Warner merger, credit won’t necessarily belong to the executives, bankers, lawyers, and lobbyists pushing for the deal. More likely, it will be due to the professors....

Today, 'in front of the government, in many cases the most important advocate is the economist and lawyers come second,' said James Denvir, an antitrust lawyer at Boies, Schiller.

Economists who specialize in antitrust — affiliated with Chicago, Harvard, Princeton, the University of California, Berkeley, and other prestigious universities — reshaped their field through scholarly work showing that mergers create efficiencies of scale that benefit consumers. But they reap their most lucrative paydays by lending their academic authority to mergers their corporate clients propose. Corporate lawyers hire them from Compass Lexecon and half a dozen other firms to sway the government by documenting that a merger won’t be “anti-competitive”: in other words, that it won’t raise retail prices, stifle innovation, or restrict product offerings. Their optimistic forecasts, though, often turn out to be wrong, and the mergers they champion may be hurting the economy.

Experts Who Quit Panama's Transparency Commission Produce Their Own Report
"Ending the kinds of offshore abuses revealed by the Panama Papers scandal requires a global solution led by the United States and Europe, a report released today by Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and Swiss anti-corruption expert Mark Pieth says.

The 25-page report, 'Overcoming the Shadow Economy,' argues that, as 'economic leaders,' the U.S. and the European Union 'have an obligation to force financial centers to comply with global transparency standards.'

The U.S. and EU have shown they have the tools to stem the flow of dirty money in the fight against terrorism, but have failed to use these same anti-money-laundering tools as forcefully in the fight against financial corruption and tax dodging, the report says."

Is Gun Violence Stunting Business Growth?
"Gun violence imposes heavy social, psychological, and financial burdens on both individuals and society at large. Some of these burdens are known—we learn of the emotional cost from news stories and moving personal accounts, and we have previously calculated the health care costs of treating gunshot injuries. But we know comparatively little about the relationship between gun violence and local economic health.

In the communities and neighborhoods most affected by gun violence, is the presence of guns—absent other factors—impeding business growth?

A recent longitudinal study shows that neighborhood-level economic activity affects the conditions that make crime more likely and that violent crime can decline in the same year that economic activity increases. Earlier studies by Bowes and Greenbaum and Tita show that crime and fear of crime adversely affect the economic health of communities, cutting into business revenues and limiting business activity. New Urban research led by Yasemin Irvin-Erickson builds on these findings by exploring the association between gun violence and economic health of neighborhoods in six cities: Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Oakland, California; Rochester, New York; San Francisco, California; and Washington, DC.

This study integrates innovative data from several sources, including the National Establishment Time-Series (NETS) database, gunshot detection technology, and credit bureau data, to develop concrete numbers describing the association between gun violence and local economic health. An interim report presents findings from Oakland, Washington, DC, and Minneapolis and explores the association between gun violence and business trends by census tract, using fixed effects panel models and analysis of observational data with statistical matching."

View the Interim Report

Friday, November 4, 2016

Young Adult Offenders Inquiry
"Research from a range of disciplines strongly supports the view that young adults are a distinct group with needs that are different both from children under 18 and adults older than 25, underpinned by the developmental maturation process that takes place in this age group. In the context of the criminal justice system this is important as young people who commit crime typically stop doing so by their mid-20s.

Those who decide no longer to commit crime can have their efforts to achieve this frustrated both by their previous involvement in the criminal justice system due to the consequences of having criminal records, and limitations in achieving financial independence due to lack of access to affordable accommodation or well-paid employment as wages and benefits are typically lower for this age group."

View the UK Justice Committee's Report of its Inquiry on Young Adult Offenders
 
New INCLO Report Shows how Surveillance is Violating Rights in Democracies Around the World
"Edward Snowden’s revelations of the United States’ mass surveillance collection and storage program have radically altered our understanding of digital surveillance and the way intelligence agencies operate. However, outside the major 'Five Eyes' countries — the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Australia — the range of digital surveillance regimes — and even still more traditional surveillance — and their impacts remain relatively unknown.

In its newest report, 'Surveillance and Democracy: Chilling Tales from Around the World', the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations (INCLO), of which CCLA is a member, attempts to blow open the truth about this growing international scourge and demonstrate the chilling impact that unregulated and unrestrained surveillance can have – crushing dissent, intimidating activists and undermining the dignity of ordinary citizens."

UN Report Compares Solitary Confinement Practices in the U.S. and Around the World
"Last week, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan E. Méndez, presented a report to the General Assembly detailing and comparing solitary confinement practices around the world....

The report, Seeing into Solitary: A Review of the Laws and Policies of Certain Nations Regarding Solitary Confinement of Detainees... includes within its scope 35 jurisdictions, including eight U.S. states (California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Maine, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas) and twenty-six countries, including the U.S. federal prison system and immigration detention system.

Seeing into Solitary builds on a prior groundbreaking report by Méndez, presented to the UN in 2011, that for the first time declared that solitary confinement may amount to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment and in some cases torture, and may thus, under certain conditions, be prohibited under international law. In that 2011 report, Méndez further called for a categorical ban on subjecting juveniles and people with mental illness to solitary confinement, and to end the practice of prolonged and indefinite solitary confinement."

The New Era of Secret Law
"An unprecedented buildup of secret law has been created by the federal government since 9/11 through legal memos, court opinions, agreements with foreign nations, and more. All have been issued without public scrutiny or input — and many impact crucial decisions about the lives and liberties of U.S. citizens, from the use of torture to mass surveillance....

...Solving the problem of secret law raises its own set of questions. Are there cases in which disclosure of rules or legal interpretations, even with sensitive facts redacted, could harm national security? How great is that risk, and how does it compare with the harms of secret law? What procedural and substantive reforms could help ensure that the public’s interests in both the transparency of laws and the security of the nation are best served?
This report attempts to shed light on these questions, beginning with the foundational inquiry into what secret law is."
Better by Half: How New York City Cut Crime and Incarceration at the Same Time
The Harvard Kennedy School Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management, Justice Strategies, and the Katal Center for Health, Equity and Justice, present Better by Half: The New York City Story of Winning Large-Scale Decarceration while Increasing Public Safety.

In this new report, co-authors Greene and Schiraldi examine New York City’s successful 55 percent incarceration rate decline from 1996 to 2014, coinciding with a 54 percent decline in violent crime. At a time when America grapples with the challenges of and solutions to mass incarceration, New York City provides an effective example of replacing incarceration with more informal, less intrusive dispositions and community-based programs, without jeopardizing public safety.

The paper examines the grassroots advocacy and responsive public officials that made New York City one of the least incarcerated cities in the United States. Given the growing, bipartisan consensus to reduce mass incarceration, the authors encourage other states to recognize the success that can be achieved through bold reform agendas, organizational moxie and powerful public engagement, as demonstrated by New York City.

Righting Security: A Contextual and Critical Analysis and Response to Canada's 2016 National Security Green Paper
"This article responds to the Canadian government’s 2016 consultation on national security law and policy. It outlines a series of concerns, both with laws enacted in 2015 (and especially bill C-51) and some interpretations of C-51 and other laws in the consultation documents. It urges the need for a systematic and contextual understanding of the many issues raised in the consultation. For example, information sharing and increased investigative powers should not be discussed without attention to inadequate review and accountability structures. Similarly CSIS’s new disruption powers need to be understood in the context of the intelligence and evidence relationship. The article proposes concrete and significant changes to the current legal and policy regime motivated both by civil liberties and security-based concerns."

View the Government Green Paper

Access the Review by Craig Forcese and Kent Roach 
 
New Analysis: Outside Spending Surges in Important State Judicial Races as Election Day Nears
"Special interest groups, many of which do not disclose their donors, have invested heavily in state supreme court races this election cycle, including pumping more than $1.2 million in outside spending into six states over the past two weeks, according to an analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice.

A corporate-funded group dedicated to electing Republicans in down-ballot races, along with PACs funded by energy companies, business interests, and trial lawyers, are among the major spenders. Many of these interests are frequent litigants in state courts, raising the specter of judges hearing cases involving major campaign supporters — and concerns that campaign cash could affect decisions in the courtroom. Other interests — and potential conflicts — remain obscured, as weak disclosure laws, coupled with the impact of Citizens United and related campaign finance rulings, make it easy for groups to spend in secret. Ads that have aired to date suggest that most of these outside groups will focus on criminal justice issues, including attacking judges’ decisions as 'soft on crime.'"

How Sexual Partner Abuse has Changed with Social Media
"Incidents involving threats to expose sexual images, or what media are calling “sextortion,” are not new, but have evolved with social media.

In a large study we recently did on the topic, we found that sextortion mostly involves the classic dynamics of abusive relationships, or malicious online seducers with a few digital-age twists....

In our study, we asked young people between the ages of 18 and 25 to complete an online survey telling us their stories about sextortion, in partnership with the nonprofit Thorn and through ads on Facebook. We defined sextortion as threats to expose sexual images in order to make a person do something or for other reasons, such as revenge or humiliation.

Among the 1,631 respondents to the online survey, many gave harrowing accounts about threats to send sexual images to parents, employers and classmates. About half of the victims were youth under age 18. In many cases, these images were originally entrusted willingly to intimate partners. In other cases, they were coerced or even fabricated. The perpetrators were mostly men targeting women and girls, but we also heard about sextortion within LGBTQ relationships."

View the Report