Monthly Archives: March 2011

March 2011 Vol 3 (1) Edition

Sources and Resources — A Newsletter for Criminal Justice and Related Professionals

The BCCJA is a not for profit association of criminal justice and related professionals which has been fostering debate, dialogue, providing advocacy and advancing current and best practices for 40 years. Visit our website at www.bccja.com.

The purpose of this newsletter is to provide information of professional interest to our members and colleagues. Let us know your thoughts and ideas and if you would like to be put on our distribution list at newsletter@bccja.com.

Summary of Contents

Upcoming Events Violence (3 references)
The Law and Courts (14 references) Sexual Offenders (4 references)
Criminal Justice Policy (12 references) Mental Health (6 references)
Children and Youth (5 references) General Interest (7 references)
Corrections (8 references) Did You Know?
Criminal Behavior (5 references) Important Sources and Resources
Victims of Crime (8 references)

Upcoming Events

  • A Ting Forum entitled “Population Aging and the Challenges for Corrections” is coming up quickly on March 29, to be held at Douglas College. The keynote speaker is Mr. Howard Sapers, Correctional Investigator. Go to the BCCJA website for more: www.bccja.com. Also on the calendar tab of the website is information on the 7th Annual Pacific Forensic Psychiatric Conference to be held March 30 – April 1.
  • CRI-VIFF (the Interdisciplinary Research Center on Family Violence and Violence Against Women) are pleased to hold the Second International Conference on Violence Against Women which will bring together researchers, practitioners, political decision makers, and students from around the world to share knowledge and practices and debate current issues in the field. The conference will be held in Montreal at the Delta Centre-Ville Hotel from May 29 to June 1, 2011. http://www.conferenceviolence.com
  • Registration is now open for the Federation of Law Societies of Canada’s 38th National Criminal Law Program: Criminal Procedure, Ethics, and The Charter. The conference will take place July 4 to 8, 2011 in Quebec City. For more information click here or visit the Federation’s website at www.flsc.ca.
  • The Canadian Criminal Justice Association is holding its next bi-annual congress in collaboration with the Société de criminologie du Québec in Québec City, October 26 – 29, 2011. The full Congress programme will be on-line next week. In the meantime you can register at click here. For more information you can contact the CCJA at: ccja-acjp@rogers.com.

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The Law and Courts

  • Ever been deposed? Here’s an interesting article describing 12 strategies that some lawyers use to gain an advantage. Note: click on “One-click download” at the top of the page for the full PDF article. Click here.
  • A new report from The Sentencing Project is available, “The State of Sentencing 2010: Developments in Policy and Practice.” The report highlights reforms in 23 states and documents a growing trend to reexamine sentencing policies and scale back the use of imprisonment in order to control spending. Please note that the link may open as a tab on the bottom of your screen, which you then click on.
  • After images of her child sexual abuse were circulated on the internet, the victim, now an adult, is suing anyone who is found in possession of the materials. This is raising questions about personal liability. Click here.
  • A very recent report indicates that B.C.’s legal aid system fails to meet basic needs. Click here.
  • A federal appeals court has ruled that a judge, who openly believes that viewing child pornography is due to an unchangeable genetic defect, should not be allowed to determine sentencing for that conviction. Click here.
  • A British judge has forbidden an intellectually disabled man to have sex because the man is too impaired to understand the nature or implications of sexual behavior. Click here.
  • The following link leads to an article on a sensational Connecticut triple-murder trial casts a spotlight on the effect new media, such as Twitter, are having on legal proceedings across the continent. Click here for the article.
  • For the second time in a year, the B.C. Court of Appeal has quadrupled the sentence of former Hells Angel who earlier admitted guilt for trafficking cocaine and methamphetamine. Click here.
  • An op-ed comment about what Judge Dewar was really communicating about the case before him when this Manitoba Justice offered an easy sentence to a rapist because there “..was sex in the air”. Click here.
  • For the first-time ever, the B.C. Supreme Court has convicted drug traffickers of conducting their business to benefit a criminal organization. See the full text: Click here.
  • Trying to understand why individuals would offer false confessions, researchers have shown that subjects’ behaviour is governed by avoiding short-term unpleasant consequences while ignoring the impact of their confession on longer-term, equally unpleasant consequences. Click here.
  • A blistering editorial comment about the issue of self defense and democracy. Click here. The outcome of that case is here. The Canadian Criminal Justice Association newsletter (February 21) contains information on the Citizen Arrest and Self Defense Act. Click here.
  • Sex in public: a Macleans article on the law and policy in England, and why authorities are loathe to crack down on “dogging”: click here.

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Criminal Justice Policy

  • The following link is for the Institute of the Prevention of Crime at the University of Ottawa, and provides links to numerous topics on prevention strategies and activities relevant for youth and adults. Click here.
  • Plans to put B.C. Sheriffs on traffic patrol, even with the training complete, are “…not imminent”. Click here.
  • Portugal decriminalized most street drugs in 2001. This report provides an independent review and analysis of the effects which, the authors conclude, have been largely positive. Click here.
  • Further to the last item, here is a report that provides a very different view of the effects of Portugal’s drug decriminalization. Click here.
  • Here is an editorial commenting on a somewhat scary approach to providing treatment for the mentally ill in California prisons: click here.
  • This is an interesting op-ed piece arguing that the U.S. approach to increased incarceration has not worked, and urging conservative legislators to seek more effective and humane policies. The lead author – Newt Gingrich. Click here.
  • As Canada moves to increase incarceration rates, a former advocate of such policy (and a former U.S. congressman) has urged a Commons committee to not follow the U.S. example. Click here.
  • An article from The United Church Observer which weighs in on the get tough on crime approach: here. Another article regarding the position denominational churches are taking through the Church Council on justice and corrections: Coalition of churches condemns Ottawa’s justice plan.
  • Does incarceration make communities safer? Here is a very comprehensive study that evaluated the effects of prison on crime rates. Note: click “one-click download” at the top of the page for the full PDF article. Click here to start.
  • Texas has been considered conservative on crime reduction strategies. You might be surprised by this article which shows a counter-intuitive approach can have appeal for the right, and be successful. Click here.
  • The metaphors used to describe crime (e.g., a “beast” versus a “virus” affecting our community) can significantly affect the policies people are prepared to support. Click here.
  • “You can’t outsmart crazy, or can you?” An article in Macleans Magazine about the vitriol that the shooting in Tucson generated for intelligent debate on this matter. Click here.

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Children and Youth

  • Trying to understand teen behaviour? New research suggests that the teen brain is less developed than had been previously assumed, and this under-development may help explain behaviours such as bullying. Click here.
  • Researchers have found that children learn languages much easier than adults because they process language in different parts of the brain. Click here.
  • Recent research has reported that some psychiatric disorders in teens are associated with increased “risky” sexual behaviors. Click here.
  • Teens who perpetrate dating violence are also more likely to use violence against siblings and peers. Click here.
  • The jump in the number of young people with serious mental health issues is being noted across Canada. Part of the answer might lie in our increasing reliance on technology that exposes vulnerable youth to cyber bullying, Internet addiction and the communication of ideas that may be damaging, such as pro-suicide or proanorexia sites. Read more: click here.

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Corrections

  • An interesting September 2010 report from the Correctional Investigator’s office entitled “A review of the implementation of the Correctional Service of Canada’s Mental Health Strategy”, is located on the OCI site at click here.
  • The March 18 edition of the Canadian Criminal Justice Association’s electronic newsletter contains an interesting article (among others) entitled: “Prisons should be repair shops, not garbage dumps” by Conrad Black. Go to the BCCJA website under the tab “CCJA Newsletters”. Click here.
  • The following website links to the home page of the Journal of Prisoners on Prison. Interesting material from perspectives sometimes not heard. Click here.
  • The total annual cost of the nation’s corrections system could be $9.5-billion or more, instead of $4.4-billion (as of 2009-10). If Mr. Page is right, Canada could seed an education account for each newborn with $13783. Outlandish? Click here.
  • People will likely know the details of the CSC expansion, but if you haven’t: click here.
  • This article talks about the views that mandatory minimums will make it worse for women in prison. Click here.
  • Could the answer to reducing prison violence be as simple as multivitamins? Click here.
  • B.C. Prisoners Union seeks to negotiate higher federal inmate pay from the current range that tops at $6.90 per day. Click here.

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Criminal Behavior

  • Researchers have isolated a gene that is associated with highly impulsive and aggressive behaviour, but only when the person has ingested alcohol. Click here.
  • A study has reported that the empathy deficits found in psychopaths may be mirrored by individuals suffering frontal lobe damage. Click here.
  • New research has shown enhanced activity in the reward systems of young adolescents’ brains that leads them to take more costly risks, but only when they believe their friends are watching. Click here.
  • A recent Canadian study has shown that individuals showing fake remorse can be identified by a number of behavioural cues: click here. Another article on the same research gives some more information. For that click here.

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Victims of Crime

  • The recent decision to employ “intrusive” patdowns in U.S. airports may have unintended consequences for victims of sexual assault. Click here. See also: here.
  • This important report from the Native Women’s Association of Canada addresses the issue of the disproportionate number of Aboriginal women who have disappeared or died, often violently. The second link addresses the challenges to ongoing funding for the NWAC’s work. Click here and then here.
  • This is an on-line training package to encourage bystander involvement in preventing sexual assault: click here.
  • While we are all-too-familiar with wartime sexual assaults against women and girls, such abuse is used very frequently against men, but is rarely reported. Click here.
  • As part of its Domestic Violence Action Plan, the Government of B.C. has developed a new web portal of resources for victims of domestic violence to help them get the support they need. Click here for the website.
  • The Centre for Disease Control has published a useful guide to train professionals in the primary prevention of sexual and intimate-partner violence. Click here for this guide.

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Violence

  • Research is suggesting that ingesting sugar may help reduce levels of aggression, at least temporarily, and that diabetics may be at greater risk to behave aggressively. Click here.
  • In a modern twist on the classic Milgram experiment, a mock French reality show required contestants to administer “near-lethal” shock to others. Eighty-two percent of contestants agreed to do so. Click here.
  • This is an excellent on-line course on violence and violence prevention from a public health perspective: click here.
  • Peter McNight of the Vancouver Sun writes a comprehensive piece on violence and the mentally ill. It’s worth reading to its end. Click here.

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Sexual Offenders

  • Research has suggested that legalizing child pornography may actually reduce the incidence of sexual crimes against children. Click here for the article.
  • With the help of a 1.8 petaflop supercomputer, researchers are trying to track individuals who produce child pornography. Click here.
  • New York has developed courts that focus specifically on sexual offenses. This link takes you to a brief overview of the project, but more detail is available on the right side of the page. Click here to start.
  • This is a site that critiques current and proposed Canadian legislation on sex offenders. Also, the site has a number of links to original research and review articles on a number of relevant issues. Click here for access to this information

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Mental Health

  • A study of people with major depression has identified a genetic feature that predisposes people to the disorder. The gene involved plays an important role in the development of nerve cells, adding to evidence that disruptions in neurotransmission networks form a biological basis for depression. Click here.
  • Researchers have shown that sleep deprivation following a traumatic event may disrupt the formation of memories and reactions to that event. The findings may have implications for the development and treatment of disorders such as PTSD. Click here.
  • Although physical withdrawal symptoms may abate relatively quickly following opiate use cessation, depressive symptoms may be prolonged and may contribute to recidivism. New research with mice has shown that these depressive symptoms may be mediated by the serotonergic system and may be alleviated with certain antidepressants. Click here.
  • Research has shown that cognitive-behavioural treatment for social anxiety disorder results in specific brain changes that parallel behavioural improvement. Click here.
  • The most recent issue of the Canadian Psychiatric Association journal has several interesting articles devoted to mental health with Aboriginal populations. Click here to have a look.
  • Over a year after the launch of the At Home/Chez Soi project in 5 Canadian cities, and after months of helping homeless people living with mental health issues to be housed, the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s (MHCC’s) At Home/Chez Soi project is seeing some positive signs. Get an update for Vancouver and the other 4 cities: here.

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General Interest

  • The claim of lost faith in things is groundless. As long as there have been politicians, they have been mistrusted. Only ignorance of history and a factitious nostalgia could make anyone think otherwise. An amusing article in Macleans magazine about a book entitled: Against Reform. Click here.
  • Researchers have reported a very accurate, biological test to detect autism. This finding could someday replace current clinical diagnoses and allow for more a refined understanding of the biological bases of the disorder. Click here for the brief.
  • Although based on experiments with mice, researchers believe that a drug may help people with Autism Spectrum Disorder overcome their aversion to socialization. Click here.
  • It appears that apparently robust scientific findings are becoming much less robust over time. This article discusses this phenomenon: click here.
  • This is a fascinating study in which brief magnetic disruption of the right temporo-parietal junction of the brain disrupted subjects’ ability to make moral judgments: click here.
  • Recently, an optional class in human sexuality involved sexually explicit behaviours. This event has generated considerable debate about academic freedom versus community standards. The first link is an overview of what occurred, while the second is a statement issued by the professor of the class in question. Here is the first, and here is the second.
  • The Province of Quebec banning Kirpans from their National Assembly as a security measure has been a controversial decision for some. Click here.

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Did You Know?

The BCCJA Island Branch held a very successful seminar on March 16 at the University of Victoria on the topic of the Mentally Ill and Criminal Justice. The presenting panel was His Honor Judge Ernie Quantz, Dr. Diane Rothon (formerly Chief Coroner and Director of Medical Services for the Corrections Branch), Police Officer Don Mayo and Social Worker Rob Schuckel. A brief is provided on the BCCJA website at www.bccja.com. For additional up to date information on Vancouver Island activities, click on the “VICJA News-Vancouver Island” button on the website.

The Canadian Criminal Justice Association (CCJA) is our national organization and has existed since 1919. CCJA publishes the Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, quarterly Justice Reports, and an electronic newsletter regularly. Their website includes book reviews and position papers on important topics of relevance to criminal justice. Take a few minutes to update yourself on the information available on their website. Their newsletter provides a quick scan of issues before government and items in the public eye and is routinely filed on our BCCJA website. For instance, in the February 21 edition, see the response of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police response to the re-interpretation of crime stats done by former prosecutor Scott Newark. Click here for direct access to this and more recent CCJA newsletter editions.

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Important Sources and Resources

The Justice Institute of British Columbia specializes in justice and public safety agency training and education. Its’ library is a premier source of academic and experiential training information. For instance, visit the Library site for a prepared bibliography on a wide range of topics: gangs, bullying, critical incident stress, emergency management, etc….click here to access that site.

Restorative Justice BC has an excellent website as a resource of interest to practitioners, community partners and others with an interest in restorative justice, who are wanting to stay up to date on current issues and practices. www.rjbc.ca to access this important information.

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