Monthly Archives: January 2014

December 2013 Vol 5 (4) 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.

If you would like to see us provide more attention to specific criminal-justice areas or topics, please drop us a line and let us know at newsletter@bccja.com. As always, we welcome your feedback, complimentary and corrective.

VERY BEST WISHES FOR 2014!!

The Board of the British Columbia Criminal Justice Association takes this opportunity to wish our members and all readers of this newsletter a thoughtful, peaceful, joyful and hopeful 2014.

Congress 2013 A Success; Congress 2015 in Regina

Feedback to the organizers of Congress 2013 in Vancouver suggests it was a great success.  For those who were able to attend despite meagre financial times for governments and non governmental agencies at all levels found a significant  agenda with something for everyone! Connections were made, program ideas discussed and sentiments of re-newed energy and enthusiasm for our business were felt in every sector. We look forward to Congress 2015……!

New Editors for the Newsletter

This issue marks the last under the direction of Tim Stiles and Art Gordon. We have thoroughly enjoyed preparing the newsletter for our many readers and have been heartened by the positive feedback we’ve received. However, the time is come for us to move on to other endeavors. We are pleased to introduce our new editors, Cindy Ramos and Hank Mathias, both members of the BCCJA Board. We know they will continue to provide an excellent product for criminal justice professionals. In fact, we expect that the newsletter may become even better. If you have suggestions for what you’d like to see in future, please direct them to newsletter@bccja.com.

Welcome New Members!

Everyone who is a full registrant at Congress receives a full year membership in the Canadian Criminal Justice Association. In addition to that one year membership, membership to their local affiliate association is automatically granted. In British Columbia, that is our BCCJA! Welcome to you!

Newsletter Summary of Contents

Criminal Justice Policy (19 items) Victims of Crime (7 items)
Criminal Justice System (5 items) Sexual Offenders (4 items)
The Law and Courts (15 items) Mental Health (18 items)
Police (12 items) Social Capital (4 items)
Children and Youth (21 items) Related Interest (6 items)
Corrections and Community (22 items) Did You Know?
Criminal Behavior (7 items) Important Sources and Resources

Upcoming Conferences and Events!

  • The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP), in partnership with The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), is hosting a conference on March 24 to 26, 2014 called “Balancing Individual Safety, Community Safety and Life Quality: A Conference to Improve Interactions with Persons with Mental Illness”. For further information and details on the conference please click here.
  • The International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law (BC) is sponsoring an important conference: Crime and Punishment: Back to the Future for Sentencing and Corrections Reform. Chaired by Chief Justice Beverley McLaughlin, the conference takes places in Vancouver June 22-26, 2014. The conference is calling for presenters on the following: sentencing reform, corrections reform, youth criminal justice programs, criminal justice responses to mentally ill offenders, Aboriginal criminal justice programs, parole, probation and re-entry, genetics and sentencing.  Contact is Brian Tkachuk, Executive Director, International Centre for Criminal Law Reform and Criminal Justice Policy (ICCLR). tkachuk@law.ubc.ca   Web site for the conference


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Criminal Justice Policy


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Criminal Justice System

  • Nearly a year after a retired judge called for sweeping change to prevent another Robert Pickton, the British Columbia government has yet to implement the vast majority of his recommendations, with work started on only half of them. Read more.
  • Here are some recent statistics on crime rates and the crime severity index for major Canadian cities. The results may surprise you.
  • A report from John Howard Society prompted this article, which highlights the findings: availability of bail has decreased while the conditions around bail are increasingly prohibitive.  The full report is available here.
  • Here are some “lessons learned” from four jurisdictions that changed criminal justice policies to reduce both the cost of incarceration and criminal recidivism.
  • New Zealand issues sentences that are longer than comparative countries and they mostly remand those charged, including the mentally ill. An Anglican Bishop built a cell on the cathedral steps and will be locked up for a week to draw attention to the problem.


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The Law and Courts


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Police


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Children and Youth


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Corrections and Community

    • An inquest into the death of Ashley Smith in a CSC facility has ruled that the death was homicide.
    • This report from the Office of the Correctional Investigator considers chronic self injury among federally sentenced women. The same author is calling for enhanced training for guards who work with offenders who may harm themselves.
    • In his recent annual report, the Correctional Investigator maintains that the disproportionate increase of Aboriginals and other visible minorities reflects “covert racism”. You can read the full report here.
    • Issues around prison segregation continue to be of concern. Here are the data concerning the use of segregation in CSC over the last decade. And here is an interesting radio documentary on the topic.
    • This article asks whether California’s use of segregation constitutes torture.
    • The John Howard of Ontario has launched Counter Point, a new series calculated to spark conversation about community safety, crime prevention and prisons.  There are videos at the links focused on the topics as well.   Counter Point link
    • This briefing note arises from a study completed by the Howard League for Penal Reform and considers the issues and ramifications of consensual sex in UK prisons.
    • The Sentencing Project – Trends in US Corrections provides 6 pages of graphic information updates.
    • A Vancouver lawyer argues argues that often, prison is not the place you go for punishment but prison is the punishment.
    • The Prison Reform Trust (PRT) newsletter in the UK is an excellent source for new developments in the research around prisons and incarceration. This edition has commentary on super-sized prisons and the tendency to greater use of them, community justice for women, a 52 page report on how computers can help in rehabilitation, prisoners with learning disabilities and the aging population in prison.
    • The monthly newsletter from Prison Reform International (PRI) is now available with focus on activities at the UN around women in prison. Additionally, there is an article on preventing maltreatment of the LGBTI inmates, A framework for Preventive Monitoring. Women’s issueLGBTI.
    • Here is a different sort of reporting on prisons and mental illness. Thompson has brought together a series of eight links that offer the best of in depth reporting on the intersection of mental illness and prisons, including solitary and capital punishment insects.
    • This article discusses the serious problem of sexual abuse in prison.
    • A pilot project in a Scotland prison provides a multi-agency team to work with addiction and mental health issues from the time an inmate arrives until a year after release.
    • The state prison system of Louisiana is getting into tele-medicine in a big way.  Last year the system had over 3,000 consultations with off-site specialists.
    • Here are recently published guidelines for releasing people with behavioral health disorders from jail and prison.
    • Focused on the Nevada prison system, the article explores the problems and costs associated with an aging prison population, a problem not anticipated for most of the tough-on-crime legislation in the US or in Canada.
    • Here’s an approach to both jail reduction and fire fighting in Los Angeles County. Up to 500 County jail inmates are offered the chance to be transferred to the Los Angeles Fire Department inmate fire suppression camps, where they are trained in the skills and later perhaps may be hired by the state fire-fighting agencies.
    • We would call them trailers and work gangs but they are the latest solution to prison over-crowding for Australia. In fact, officials have determined that some of the overflow will be housed in … shipping containers.
    • Fulbright scholar Kathy Fox has extensively researched the notion of restorative justice as an adult inmate re-integration tool.
    • Here is an interesting take on how to fix the Canadian federal prison system.
    • Private prisons are a $5.1 billion industry in the US. A report published in September 2013 entitled How Lock-up Quotas and “Low Crime Taxes” Guarantee Profits for Private Prison Corporations is interesting reading.

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Criminal Behavior

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Victims of Crime

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Sexual Offenders

  • The more prominent typologies of pedophilic sex offenders and the role of child
    pornography are discussed here. Included is a discussion of female offenders
    who sexually abuse children as well as the sexual abuse of children in
    childcare settings and by members of the clergy. Recommendations are offered.
  • This study explores crime scene factors extracted from 350 sexual homicides, using
    police data to determine if there are crime scene factors which can help
    classify these types of offenders and from there inform further investigative
    strategy. A discussion of the practical implications of this study is discussed
    in the conclusion.
  • Sex offenders are often considered more likely to re-offend than other criminals but that is not true, found a 2010 study by the University of Southern Maine. The study looked at the stats up to three years beyond release.
  • You can have free access to a special journal issue focusing on a wide variety of sex offender issues.

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Mental Health

    • A simple measurement of the sweat gland activity of a depressed person can determine if he or she is suicidal – with 97 per cent accuracy. Now another large clinical study confirms the correlation.
    • A recent study examined neurological deficits in inmates who self-injure.
    • Prison Reform International’s new publication Mental Health and Learning Disabilities in the Criminal Courts  is intended to assist court personnel in dealing with learning disabled offenders.
    • Legal Aid Ontario is proposing a “pioneering” new model to better serve clients with mental illness.
    • The tools used to diagnose psychopathy and predict the likelihood of psychopaths to re-offend are rated by this study at about 46% or as good as a toss of a coin.
    • This study appears in the July edition of the journal Brain and is entitled “Reduced Spontaneous but Relatively Normal Deliberate Vicarious Representations in Psychopathy.”
    • This article is a commentary on the recent classification of disorders in the DSM-5 associated with psychosis. It talks about the lack of consistency in the application rating scales, the progress that has been made in terms of at-risk mental states and the recommendation of a future treatment approach which may useful.
    • The DSM-4 classifications of substance use disorders have been under much scrutiny since their emergence. This article considers the issues that were considered by the DSM-5 working group, based on an extensive literature review. Perhaps the most notable change in the new classification is the recommendation to combine both abuse and dependence criteria into a single classification.
    • This article summarizes the current body of knowledge relative to Borderline Personality Disorder over the 33 years that this diagnosis has been part of the American Psychiatric Association’s classification system. It highlights the strides that have been made over the last three decades.
    • The efficacy of treatment regimes for borderline personality disorders predominantly during the last 5 years are discussed here. Consideration is given to interaction of genetics and adverse life events in the development of the disorder.
    • A report in Ontario entitled: Building Bridges between the Community Mental Health and Justice Sectors: A Work in Progress has recently been released. The key message summary and the recommendations for improvement are interesting . The second link is directly to the e-health page.  
    • Mentally ill people placed in apartments scattered across the city break the law less and live happier lives compared to those put in hotel-style buildings, according to a national study on homelessness.
    • One jurisdiction is trying to improve mental health services by bringing these services directly to potential clients rather than expecting the client to attend clinics.
    • Seventeen and 18-year olds are victims of a B.C. mental health system gap in services between pediatric and youth services that typically end at age 16 and the adult system of psychiatric care which starts at 19.
    • The American Public Health Association has passed three significant policy changes around justice issues related to mental health impact of solitary confinement, the need for housing and support services on re-entry after prison and around medication use.
    • A new study shows that people with severe mental illness are much more likely to be victims of crime than the average person in the population. Details provided.
    • Here’s a look at the problem of senior citizens involved in the justice system because of aggressive behaviours, sometimes related to dementia.
    • This article is about one of Canada’s top forensic psychiatrists and the strains that come with providing professional services in some of our most notorious and grisly murders.

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Social Capital

    • Thanks to Vancouver’s Coast Capital Savings Innovation Hub (CCS iHub), a unique program sponsored by UBC’s Sauder School of Business and Coast Capital Savings credit union social enterprises get help starting up with the enterprise skills necessary to assure an on-going capacity to stay in business.
    • ‘Social investment’ is the new priority among many social justice groups looking for new and perhaps more reliable funding. Business and investment firms also realize that there are increasing numbers of investors who want both a return and evidence of contributing to wider social development. The Social Investment Research Council in the UK is backed by both government and lottery funds and seeks to research where such funds could usefully go.
    • This article comes from an US investment company. It offers a forecast that social investing specifically on gender issues may be helpful and growing in attractiveness for investors. You can also access the full report.
    • And here is another article on social investing, in Ontario. Socially-minded investors
      who want to make a difference while making a profit have a new financial tool at their fingertips. The MaRs Discovery District’s Social Venture Connection has launched at the Toronto Stock Exchange. Billed as “first of its kind” in North America it includes an on-line impact investing program”.

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Related Interest

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Did You Know?

The Smart Justice Network is a consortium of volunteers to promote a vision of responsible justice in Canada. It was created by a number of concerned individuals who have or are working in the justice system.  Smart Justice puts out a daily bulletin of topical news items, and in the interests of enhancing the distribution of justice information, a significant number of selected items are routinely included in this newsletter, along with those from a variety of other sources. Smart Justice can be contacted at: info@smartjustice.ca if you wish to receive their daily bulletin. Smart Justice is also on Facebook.

The BCCJA Island Branch is an active Branch of the BCCJA located largely in the south Vancouver Island. Get involved! For additional up to date information on Vancouver Island activities at any time, click on the VICJA button at www.bccja.com.

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 periodic electronic newsletter provides a quick scan of issues before government and items in the public eye.

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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.

The Vera Institute of Justice is a research body which we have quoted in the BCCJA newsletter in the past. The Institute has begun a newsletter to help popularize some of its findings.

The National Institute of Corrections‘ excellent website gives access to a wide variety of materials related to criminal behavior and corrections issues. We found the “Library” tab an excellent start.

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. As an example, the latest newsletter from Restorative Justice International is available on their web-site.

JusticeBC.ca has been created by the British Columbia government  “… to ensure the right information and services are available for people who become involved with the criminal justice system in B.C.” It’s a good resource for everyone, with information on legal assistance, jury duty, corrections and court services, plus more……

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 following is another site that provides a wealth of information on preventing domestic and sexual violence.

The Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder website  is for justice system professionals and provides important excellent information on such matters as identification, causal factors, legal resources and effective intervention strategies.

Changing Directions, Changing Lives: A Mental Health Strategy for Canada was launched on May 12, 2012 by the Mental Health Commission of CanadaThe Commission exists to promote mental health in Canada, and works with stakeholders to change the attitudes of Canadians toward mental health problems, and to improve services and support. Check their web-site for a series of audio-visual clips on the Strategy, and also for important information regarding a number of key initiatives.

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