Monthly Archives: June 2011

June 2011 Vol 3 (2) 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 (2 references)
The Law and Courts (18 references) Sexual Offenders (4 references)
Criminal Justice Policy (20 references) Mental Health (10 references)
Children and Youth (11 references) General Interest (15 references)
Corrections (6 references) Did You Know?
Criminal Behavior (5 references) Important Sources and Resources
Victims of Crime (7 references)

Upcoming Events

  • The National Criminal Law Program is Canada’s largest criminal law conference. Registration is 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.
  • Correctional Service of Canada is accepting nominations for the Ron Wiebe Restorative Justice Award. For more information click here.
  • Join an expert faculty and peers this July 27 – 29 in San Francisco, California, for Evidence-based Human Services Case Planning, Management and Services Delivery. This program includes both micro and macro strategies that are clinical, non-clinical and system-wide considerations for implementation and practice.
  • 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 Congress theme is: “Breaking Down Barriers for Better Success in Changing Times”. The full Congress program is available at http://www.ccja-acjp.ca/en/ . Click on Program Summary. You also can register at that site.
  • The 30th annual Research and Treatment conference of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers will be held in Toronto from Nov 2 – 5, 2011. If you are interested in sex offender issues, this is the conference to attend. More information is available at atsa.com.
  • The National Restorative Justice Symposium, “Re-visioning Justice” is being held this year in Kamloops, British Columbia on November 13 to 15, 2011. For information, click here.

↑ Back to Summary

The Law and Courts

  • The government of Canada has reintroduced a bill to reduce the number of “mega-trials.” The bill would provide new powers to judges to reduce the amount of time for a case. To see the full text click here.
  • Some U.S. jurisdictions are considering modifying sex offender registries to recognize that sex offenders vary widely in their risk to reoffend. Click here for more.
  • Some U.S. jurisdictions are considering providing publically accessible registries of individuals other then sex offenders. The first link describes efforts in Maine to provide on-line registries of drunk drivers. The second article describes efforts to create registries for other types of behavior “from arson and drunken driving to methamphetamine manufacturing and animal abuse”. Click here for the first and here for the second.
  • A recent study found that judicial decisions can be influenced by factors such as the time since the judge’s last rest break. Click here for the study abstract.
  • This article describes a variety of legal approaches being considered in the U.S. to respond to “sexting” by juveniles. Click here.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court recently ordered California to significantly reduce its prison population due to unacceptable conditions of confinement. Here are four links to summaries and reactions to the legal decision. Click here, and here, and here and finally here.
  • Perhaps not surprisingly (at least to the editors), the Canadian Supreme Court has ruled that an unconscious woman cannot give consent for sex. Click here for this article.
  • The constitutionality of civilly committing “sexually violent predators” is again being challenged. This time, the challenge relates to the U.S. federal government’s ability to impose such sanctions. Click here for more.
  • The B.C government has just passed a law that makes it illegal to hurt a police dog. For more, click here.
  • A judge had some blunt criticism of B.C.’s attorney general after a shortage of sheriffs delayed an arson sentencing and other cases. The shortage forced five cases to be delayed on one occasion. See the full text here. The Attorney General responds here: click.
  • The B.C. Court of Appeal says Ottawa can’t intervene in a Vancouver Island case to defend the Truth in Sentencing Act intended to stop judges giving extra credit for pre-trial custody. For the full story click here.
  • At least three more sitting justices of the Supreme Court of Canada will retire during the mandate of the current Conservative government. Taking into account prior appointments, this government will have chosen at least seven of nine judges of Canada’s highest court. This article says that these appointments could lead to a dramatically different Canada. Read more: click here.
  • Medical marijuana users have sued the government because they believe the system doesn’t work. In many cases, the court has agreed. Yet Ottawa seems reluctant to loosen the laws any further. Read more: click here.
  • B.C.’s stricter impaired-driving laws have drastically reduced the number of drunk-driving-related deaths, according to recent statistics. See the full text here.

↑ Back to Summary

Criminal Justice Policy

  • Here’s a recent report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office on steps needed to better combat internet child pornography. Click here.
  • A recent Department of Justice report documents the social and economic cost of crime in Canada. Click here. The second link is to the full report: click here.
  • This report addresses the issue of economically sound criminal justice policy. Although it focuses on proposed changes in the U.S., it includes comparisons with five similar countries including Canada. Click here for the Executive Summary.
  • This article suggests that the Canadian government actively ignored any evidence that ran counter to its criminal justice philosophy. Click here.
  • Here is an excellent report describing the evidence base and implications for developing effective criminal justice policy toward sex offenders. Click here for the report.
  • Further to the last item, you may be interested in a recent report by Human Rights Watch on U.S. sex offender policies. The link to download the PDF report is on the right side of the page. Click here.
  •  There is a new report from The Sentencing Project, “The State of Sentencing 2010: Developments in Policy and Practice.” The report highlights reforms in 23 states and documents a growing trend to re-examine sentencing policies and scale back the use of imprisonment in order to control spending.
  • This is an excellent article on sentencing reform in the U.S. Despite some significant obstacles, the author suggests optimism is warranted. Click here for the article.
  • This article describes the growing trend among conservative legislators to bring about more rational sentencing guidelines in the U.S. Click here for the details.
  • Here is an interesting op-ed piece on being “smart on crime” in the U.S with a special focus on the effects of criminal justice policy on education. Click here.
  • A flexible network of surveillance cameras may be installed around Surrey, B.C. in the near future as part of the city’s crime-reduction strategy. See the full story text here.
  • Surrey, B.C.’s crime rate is falling. A Crime Reduction Strategy progress report presented to Surrey council by city staff recently says that between 2006 and 2009, overall crime was reduced. See the full text of the article here.
  • As Vancouver’s Insight drug injection centre fights for its survival, here is news from a similar program in Australia. Click here.
  • The supervised injection site in Vancouver returns feeling of self-worth to addicts, says Dean Wilson, who has been clean for 15 months and counting. Read more: click here.
  • The legal fight over the future of Vancouver’s safe-injection site could set a precedent that allows similar facilities to spring up across Canada, a Supreme Court justice told a hearing into the future of the Insite facility. See the full text of this article here.
  • Canadians care about law and order issues because crime costs us so much — $31.4 billion a year or about $943 per capita. You can triple that to $99.6 billion if you include intangibles. See the full op-ed article here.
  • Here is an opinion piece arguing that, despite statistics showing falling crime rates, two-thirds of Canadians like the Conservative government’s get-tough stance. Read more here.
  • You’ve heard of bait cars – stay tuned for bait trailers. Read more here.
  • The following link is for the Institute of the Prevention of Crime at the University of Ottawa, and provides links to numerous topics on crime prevention strategies and activities relevant for youth and adults. Click here.

↑ Back to Summary

Children and Youth

  • It is suggested that Canada needs to recognize the devastating impact of domestic violence on children by making it a criminal offence to commit an assault in the presence of a child. See the full story here.
  • Recent research has found structural brain differences in aggressive juveniles with conduct disorder. Click here.
  • Recent research has provided some answers to why not all foetuses exposed to alcohol develop Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), and suggests that it may be able to reverse the effects of early alcohol exposure. Click here.
  • This excellent (but poorly constructed) site provides a wealth of information on FASD and the criminal justice system. It took us a while to navigate the site so the editors suggest patience. Click here.
  • Texas continues to reform its criminal justice policy by closing several youth detention facilities and focusing resources on community treatment instead. Click here.
  • British Columbia has restored funding for a popular program that arranges regular school visits for infants and their parents to teach young children about kindness, respect and compassion. See the full story here.
  • Female role models in politics, arts and business forge relationships with participants as part of ‘powerful network of support’. Read more: here.
  • Pediatricians could diagnose children with autism earlier by asking parents to fill out a simple, five-minute checklist when they take their babies in for their first-year checkups. Read more here.
  • Although longitudinal research on bullying is limited, evidence of a relationship between school bullying and later criminal behaviour has existed for at least 20 years. The view is expressed that we must do a lot more to curb bullying. Read more here.
  • This article summarizes recent research on “what works” with juvenile offenders. Here is the link.
  • This report addresses the increasing rate at which adolescents engaging in mutually consensual sex are ending up enmeshed in the criminal justice system. Click here.

↑ Back to Summary

Corrections

  • The Pew Center on the States has released a report from the Public Safety Performance Project entitled: State of Recidivism, The Revolving Door of America’s Prisons. Click here for this interesting report.
  • When the United States Congress passed the Fair Sentencing Act last August, it corrected an injustice that had long offended many black communities. The Act marked the first time a mandatory drug jail term had been eliminated since the War on Drugs began in 1971. Read more here.
  • The Western Correctional Association website provides updates and contact information for 13 States in the West which are affiliated, along with British Columbia. The following is their website: www.weca14.org
  •  The CSC website contains a variety of reports and information of general and particular interest for those interested in Federal corrections issues. For instance, a report entitled: A Comparative Review of Suicide and Self-Injury Investigative Reports in a Canadian Federal Correctional Population may be of interest. Click here for the study link. To access the CSC website, click here.
  • 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.

↑ Back to Summary

Criminal Behavior

  • This interesting article references preliminary research suggesting that personality traits of the psychologist scoring the Psychopathy Checklist – Revised may affect their ratings. Click here.
  • This article considers the uses and misuses of the Psychopathy Checklist – Revised (PCL-R) including some interesting and sobering comments by Dr. Bob Hare. Click here. The second link will take you to comments by three experts weighing in on the value of the PCL-R (see top left of page). Click here for this link.
  • A recent study of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests concludes that the sexual revolution in the 1960-70s played a major role. The first link is to the study itself. The second link is to an article summarizing reactions to the report including links to other analyses and reactions. Here is the first link, and here is the second.

↑ Back to Summary

Victims of Crime

  • Here is an interesting briefing note entitled “The Costs and Consequences of Sexual Violence and Cost-Effective Solutions”. You may have to scroll down the page to find this article. Click here.
  • This scary video shows how pictures you’ve e-mailed or uploaded from your Smartphone could leak information that can threaten your safety or that of your children. The video also describes an easy fix. Click here.
  • This link will give you access to the audio (and slides) for a number of recent conference presentations. Of particular interest may be the excellent keynote given by Dr. Ray Knight entitled: “Preventing rape: What the research tells us”. Click here.
  • A recent study has reported that more than 1000 women are raped in the Democratic Republic of Congo …. every day! Click here.
  • This study examined how child sexual abuse is covered by newspapers and concludes, among other things, that the issue is largely underreported. Click here.
  • A small group of Canadian victim advocates recently wrote to the Prime Minister to encourage him to appoint a commissioner who will enhance the RCMP response to victims of crime. If you want to read more about solutions to these issues, click here.
  • The National Crime Prevention Centre of Public Safety Canada has released the second volume of its Promising and Model Crime Prevention Programs. Read more here.

↑ Back to Summary

Violence

  • It is widely believed that playing violent video games may desensitize the viewer and encourage aggressive behaviour. Now, recent research has suggested that playing such games may actually produce neurological changes that may explain this phenomenon. Click here.
  • The World Health Organization has issued training courses for facilitators dealing with violence prevention. Currently available courses focus on child maltreatment and intimate partner and sexual violence. The link takes you to the actual training materials. Click here.

↑ Back to Summary

Sexual Offenders

  • The developers of the STATIC-99 and STATIC 2002 have recently revised the scoring system to better accommodate the risk presented by older offenders. Click here.
  • This article suggests that directly informing the community about high-risk sex offenders does not necessarily improve community safety. Click here.
  • This fairly comprehensive article reviews some of the unintended negative impacts of public access to sex offender registries. Click here.
  • This interesting report reviews the role that the Church (worldwide) has had, and should have, in dealing with sexual violence. Click here.

↑ Back to Summary

Mental Health

  • The Mental Health Commission of Canada promotes mental health in Canada, and works with stakeholders to change the attitudes of Canadians toward mental health problems, and to improve services and support. Their website contains important information regarding initiatives like the mental health first aid program (over 40,000 people trained across Canada), reduction in homelessness in the City of Vancouver since 2008, the new Mental Health Action Plan for New Brunswick, etc. Click here for the website.
  • Recent research has found that involvement in the criminal justice system, even if you are not incarcerated, may increase the risk of suicide. Click here.
  • The Street-to-home project has been operating in Vancouver to reduce homelessness. This link gives you access to their recent annual report. Click on “progress report” to get detailed information. Click here.
  • At a time when most governments are facing huge budget deficits, here is an encouraging article describing why Nevada chose to keep funding in place for mental health courts and related services. Click here.
  • Canada’s Public Safety Minister says it’s time to stop using prisons as a parallel health-care system for the mentally ill. Click here for these comments.
  • Here is an interesting view on criminalization of the mentally ill from a Canadian lawyer who represents these clients. Click here.
  • Two Canadian academics argue that the use of behaviour modification techniques with forensic populations is “unethical and ineffective”. Click here.
  • The first link takes you to guidelines for the use of restraint and seclusion in correctional mental health care as developed by the American Psychiatric Association. The second and third links provide critical analyses and reviews of the APA guidelines. Click here for the first, here for the second and here for the third link.
  • This link takes you to the April 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. There are a variety of relevant and interesting articles and we suggest bookmarking the Journal site for future reference. Of particular interest in the April 2011 issue is a number of articles on proposed changes to the DSM-V. Scroll down to the “Analysis and Commentary” section for these articles. Click here.

↑ Back to Summary

General Interest

  • Canada is once again among the Top 10 most peaceful countries in the world, according to a global survey by The Institute for Economics and Peace, an international research body. See more here.
  • This article says that statistics show roughly 90 per cent of young people say they’d like to marry, but that fewer Canadians actually do. The fastest growing relationship form in Canada is cohabitation. This interesting opinion piece suggests why. Read more here.
  • A civil society free of hate needs nurturing. Statistics Canada reports an alarming increase in hate crimes in Canada. Read more: here.
  • Google Street View, which provides a ground-level view of thousands of streets across B.C, has a new fan: ICBC. According to documents obtained by The Vancouver Sun, the public insurance agency is using Google technology to save time and money. See the full text here.
  • Nearly 50 years after The Beatles pondered the origin of all the lonely people, science has the answer: the bathroom. See here.
  • Canada has become the new breeding ground for cybercrime, according to an analysis released Monday, as reported from the American online-security company Websense. Click here for more.
  • The Union Gospel Mission officially opened its new $29-million shelter and housing development recently, the largest expansion of services for the poor, homeless and addicted in Vancouver’s history. See more.
  • Therapist empathy is generally recognized as a factor in good outcomes. This study (first link) confirms this relationship in general medicine. At the same time, here is a study (second link) demonstrating that medical students show less empathy for patients over the course of their training. Here is the first link, and here is the second.
  • Researchers have found that having sex for the first time increases body image in men but does the opposite for women. Click here for more on this.
  • Recent research has suggested that anti-depressants may help spur the creation and survival of new brain cells after brain injury. Click here.
  • Here is a cautionary tale about the risks of not securing your in-home router. Click here.
  • Here are two links to NPR news stories on the challenges of assessing risk in Guantanamo detainees. Here is the first, and here is the second.
  • Recent research suggests that breaking normal social rules may convey to others that you are a powerful person. Note that the full research article is also available at the second link, but for a “limited time”. Click here for the first, and here for the second.
  • This article, following revelations about Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dominique Strauss-Kahn, addresses the question of what makes powerful men behave badly. Click here.

↑ Back to Summary

Did You Know?

 

The BCCJA Island Branch of the BCCJA is presently holding a contest to accept ideas for a unique Logo. Details are on the BCCJA website at www.bccja.com. In addition, Chantal Jacques has stepped aside as Vice-President and Vaughan Barrett has taken this position; Sheila Paul has stepped down as Secretary with many thanks for her significant contribution. Click on the “VICJA News-Vancouver Island” button on the website, for more information about the activities of the Association.

 

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. In the May 16 edition you are asked to participate in a survey….3 questions…around the fact that criminology is celebrating its 50th anniversary. The results will be reported at the Congress in Quebec City this October. Click here.

↑ Back to Summary

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.

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.

↑ Back to Summary