Category Archives: Issues in Society

Learning about creating change in our society with examinations of important issues that are/may be viewed as irrelevant by government.

Trick or Treat -Laws and Canadian Prison Inmates

inmate prison cells block

Laws in Canada are available across the nation for many Canadians. Laws are created to help keep society operating, and sets down rules for actions and behaviors that are unacceptable and applies consequences. They serve as guidelines for how people can best manage themselves both in private and in public life. Most importantly, to help keep harm from befalling the people.

Laws are created by the government and enforced by police and the Judicial system (Judges, jails, prisons). Citizens are able to go to court to defend themselves with a court-appointed lawyer, or hired lawyer.

A prison sentence can be applied for crimes that fall within the Canadian Criminal code. There are Federal, Provincial and municipal laws, courts and varying levels of consequences. Canadian prisons have a high number of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous People of Color) which should beg the question, why? And what does this say about the government, courts and nation, to accept such obvious differentiation?

I’m Indigenous, and would think, I’m NOT safe in this country because I’m colored. Does it seem like the Life of a minority is meaningless in this nation?

Crimes are committed by both genders, men and women, and Youth laws apply to youths since they too have proven that they can commit adult crimes. Outcomes of going through the court system, after age 18 for criminal charges, creates a Criminal record. This record keeps a record of all crimes that a person commits and, becomes a barrier towards finding employment in certain careers. It is permanent. Youth records get sealed but not always.

Tricks

Now, let’s take a peek at those behind bars residing in jail/prisons. A common antic that arises for an inmate nearing his/her release date. One or more inmates will go all out with violence to sabotage and/or cancel outright, the release of another inmate.

Such acts will ensure another criminal charge upon the inmate ready for release. This will prolong his/her stay in jail for another time frame, and until another court day is set for this new charge.

A deliberate physical assault gets initiated against the inmate set for release, and the one initiating the fight will ‘play‘ the role of victim. We’ll assign them as inmate A, ready for release, and inmate B, plans to stop the release.

Jails and prisons may and/or will have two inmates per cell. So, during lockdown the two inmates are in one room. Nobody is looking, staff shortages do not have guards patrolling the cells, and there may be no cameras. Inmate B will not have any witnesses other than maybe one or two cells across the aisle and those inmates may support his claim.

The distance between cells may skew line of sight. Nobody may see inmate B throwing the first punch. They may not see the non-stop attack being done upon inmate A. They may only see the middle-to-end fighting.

payhip advert

Inmate A defending himself from harm and inmate B taking hits willingly even deliberately walking into the return punches. After all, the worst inmate B looks, the worst the jail and courts will see inmate A.

Once this assault has the attention of the prison guards. Inmate B enters his/her role, the victim of a physical assault. Inmate A is immediately removed and put into another prison area designated for the ‘violent’. A serious unpredictable environment literally has inmates in high stress and survival mode. Is this supposed to help ‘rehabilitate‘ inmates too?

Usually, an inmate is moved to a ‘range’ with other inmates soon to be released, and they wait out their time with minimal, if any, problems. Unfortunately, this practice may not be followed nor available.

Office of the Correctional Investigator

Oh yes, I know. This can’t be real! No way, etc, etc. It happens, is happening. I suggest you read one, or more, reports from the Office of the Correctional Investigator –> here to learn about the most recent 2019-2020 report.

The reports are honest and definitely fall within his Mission Statement of investigations and “ serves Canadians and contributes to safe, lawful and humane corrections through independent oversight of the Correctional Service of Canada by providing accessible, impartial and timely investigation of individual and systemic concerns.” I appreciate the honesty, courage, humanity and objectivity of these reports, and glad he can present them to Parliament.

It is greatly alarming to read about Corrections staff permitting harms between inmates, and permission from Superiors, to use ‘techniques‘ requiring brutal physical force upon inmates aka ‘pain compliance techniques‘ for 17 minutes.

Reading this section of the report was quite eye opening, and I have to ask the governments and all parties who ‘create‘ such policies, why allow inflicting such brutality on others? Add to these abhorrent acts done by Corrections staff – there are zero consequences. Nobody takes responsibility nor are charges applied. I do not see how such treatment of inmates helps to ‘rehabilitate‘ them for re-entry into mainstream society.

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Canada has a Constitution Act with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and under Legal Rights, the following says :

Treatment and Punishment

12. Everyone has the Right not to be subjected to any cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.

The policy for ‘Pain compliance‘ has since been changed. No such force is permitted but how long will that last? We saw the effects on inmates of what ‘Segregation‘ does to the human mind. Yet this practice is still ongoing. It just has a new name, Quarantine being one. Inmates still sit in segregation cells for 23 hours and maybe, allowed out for one hour, and time runs out to use the phone for many when they’re forced to return to their cells.

Further into reading the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, we will see ;

Application of Charter

27. The Criminal Law, except the Constitution of Courts of Criminal Jurisdiction, but including the Procedure in Criminal Matters.

  • 32 (1) This Charter applies
    • (a) to the Parliament and government of Canada in respect of all matters within the authority of Parliament including all matters relating to the Yukon Territory and Northwest Territories; and
    • (b) to the legislature and government of each province in respect of all matters within the authority of the legislature of each province.

Read a little further into the Constitution Act and we’ll find a division between Federal and Provincial powers and jurisdiction that shows TWO Constitutions;

VI. Distribution of Legislative Powers

Powers of the Parliament

Legislative Authority of Parliament of Canada

28. The Establishment, Maintenance, and Management of Penitentiaries.

Exclusive Powers of Provincial Legislatures

6. The Establishment, Maintenance, and Management of Public and Reformatory Prisons in and for the Province.

7. The Establishment, Maintenance, and Management of Hospitals, Asylums, Charities, and Eleemosynary Institutions in and for the Province, other than Marine Hospitals.

Laws and Inmates

Sleight of hand? Create changes in policies to become law of the land. A method used in Federal and Provincial governments, to skirt accepting responsibility for any wrongdoing. Do you see it? One level of government follows the rules and turns a blind eye on the 2nd level of government allowing brutalities behind bars and near open abuses on the People. Both claim innocence and, ‘its for public safety‘ and neither allowing consequences for such brutalities.

Is this a Proud moment for Canadians?

Is this truly acceptable treatment of prison Inmates?

Do you question the state of mind of government officials who write policy?

Does each ‘erosion‘ of Rights mean LESS Protections for the People?

Should any level of government be allowed to ‘violate’ Constitutional rights of the People with impunity (exempt from punishment)?

Is this how Canada should be governed ?

Is there no ONE and TRUE Constitution now?

Learning in Motion

Reading Resources

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, PDF

What is difference between flawed democracy and full democracy?

10 Awful Canadian Violations of Human Rights

I hope you found this article informative and gained some new insight. Please feel free to leave your comments and share your new found knowledge with others. Use the ‘Ask A Question’ form to make a request on a topic of your own interest. It is FREE to subscribe by RSS feed.

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Living the Conditions of Genocide

genocide,60s Scoop, ptsd, mental health, living genocide, healing and welness
Healing from Genocide

One day, nestled in the forest, a child giggles and points to the birds flying by, staying close to his/her parent. This parent teaches the child how to pronounce words, naming the birds, a tree, the grass. That smile that lights up the parents face when this child repeats the words back, correctly, makes this child happy beyond words. It’s called joy. This world can truly be a wondrous place with this parent. Can you imagine experiencing such a joy and sense of freedom, security, from your own childhood years?

Genocide, in our minds, refers to ‘mass murder’ of a people but there are a few other terms that need explaining since they get used interchangeably but have their own separate definitions. As we know, the United Nations defines Genocide as ‘the destruction of a national ethnic, racial or religious group‘ and is considered the ultimate crime against humanity. It doesn’t have to necessarily mean complete annihilation of a group but still aims, to ‘eradicate‘ a part of Humanity.

Crimes against Humanity refers to systematic attacks against the civilian population regardless of whether in times of peace or war. It refers to acts against common human rights and values such as murder, extermination, forced displacement, slavery, rape, torture and other inhumane acts.

War Crimes, refers to criminal acts committed during armed conflicts and severe acts of Breach to the Rules of warfare. These rules are set down in the Geneva Conventions to protect the innocent civilian population, prisoners of war, sick or wounded military personnel, destruction of towns, cities, not justified by armed combatants.

The term crimes against humanity, is considered an ‘umbrella‘ term to encompass crimes that are not necessarily extreme as genocide but these crimes do not need to reach this point, in order to be defined and punished, by International laws.

The conditions that occur in armed conflict zones affect people who make up a society. A society is defined as, ‘a group of people who live within the same territory and share a common culture’ (Sociology, The Core). Their social structure (more-or-less recurrent and stable patterns) are disrupted and people are displaced when homes, towns, villages are destroyed.

Culture refers to ‘the social heritage of a people, learned patterns for thinking, feeling and acting that are passed from one generation to the next. It includes ‘non-material’ culture, (the abstract creations like values, beliefs, symbols, norms, customs) and the ‘material’ culture which refers to the ‘physical’ artifacts and objects’.

The armed conflict zones, even in peaceful zones,can affect society and culture especially if ‘ethnocentrism‘ (judge the behavior of other groups by the standards of one’s OWN group) is the driving force to perceive others as an object of loathing, strangeness, evil and danger. It is one of three ingredients that arise from apathy towards the acts of racism.

The urge and need, for self-preservation kicks in, and people will flee the conflict zone. They will enter a new nation seeking asylum and refuge. They will learn to add a new ‘culture‘ to their own. One barrier may be ‘language‘. It is considered one of Man’s greatest ‘symbols‘ since it is ‘a socially structured system of sound patterns with specific and arbitrary meanings’. Language is the ‘cornerstone‘ of every culture around the world and PRINCIPLE means by which human beings create culture and share it from generation to generation’.

Perspectives on reasons that conflict exists may differ, such as :

i) failure to give minorities full equality, wastes valuable human resources, generates ethnic hostilities, reduces economic production and undermines authority

ii) A study of dominant group policies has revealed that a dominant nation ‘developed six types of policies: assimilation, pluralism, legal protection of minorities, population transfer, continued subjugation, and extermination‘(George E.Simpson and J.Milton Yinger, 1972). The minorities are kept ‘in their place‘-subservient, vulnerable and exploitable.

The long term effects of conflict zones have been studied since the First World war. Many names have been applied and today, a common term is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and is used to describe the psychological impact of a traumatic event for an individual.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that ‘10% of the people who experience traumatic events will have serious mental health problems and another 10% will develop behavior that will hinder their ability to function effectively‘. It is a tragic consequence of living through conflict upon any Human regardless of age.

Research has found that rehabilitation can be gained with positive new life experiences, psychological support, religious and cultural practices. If we can provide opportunity to fulfill Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs: physiological (water, food, air), safety and security (shelter), love and belonging (family, friends, community), self-esteem (positive new experiences, hope, joy), self-actualization (conscious of others, able to help others), rehabilitation and recovery can be attained. People accessing help are found to be resilient and find recovery. WHO and the UN continue their research for improving and providing continual help in this area.

Did you know that 2/3 of the Indigenous population of N America, were wiped out by the early colonists and pride abounds, in that extreme act? Remember the little child, so happy beyond words? Well, 1950’s to today, First Nation children have been systematically and regularly ‘apprehended‘ and removed, from their FN communities and families. Adult children of the 60’s Scoop have literally ‘lived‘ the EXACT same conditions and experiences, as the terrified refugee’s (arriving on our shores) but, in government care by the Childrens Aid Society, in their own homelands, Canada. Do you think that’s truly fair to do, upon a People? a Child?

Learning in Action

Related Reading

Racism Can Cause PTSD Similar To That Of Soldiers After War

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

FREE Download, UN Declaration of Human Rights

What is PTSD and What can we do about it?

I hope you found this article informative and gained some new insight. Please feel free to share your new found knowledge with others. Use the ‘Ask a Question’ form to make a request on a topic of your own interest. I hope you visit again for more informative articles coming soon.

Article(C)2009 current  AIC| An Informal Cornr, all rights reserved. Ginsense writes articles on business skills, development, health, science, technology and society and enjoys advocating for independence, security and a better world for all of us. She works as a VEA to help businesses operate more effectively.

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Claiming Community Power

democracy, empowerment of people, civil society, An Informal Cornr
Community Power

The trade of goods goes on between many nations. Everybody negotiating Trade agreements for economic activity to help support and grow business and money flow. It brings needed monies to the national coffers to spend towards needs of the nation and benefits for businesses on either side of trade agreement.

Global vs Local Business

Somewhere in the middle though communities are getting hurt, since the global market is replacing the local market.

Governments around the world have ‘centralized‘ powers, to a select few and blatantly ignore the voices and needs, of the People. The last thing a few of today’s government officials want, is You, or the People, to be empowered. Do you ever wonder why they are so hostile and indifferent, to Indigenous peoples, women, or other minority group? Especially if reasons for outrage affects survival?

Community Voices can Grow

The voices of these small groups are using community power, to push the government for changes and that power is ‘shared‘ between them. Joining with other ‘groups’ builds into a larger force and may continue to grow, with more people joining, until the government is greatly outnumbered. When government uses Police or Army powers, is it to truly regain Order or act of Retaliation? Power in a nation should be held by the People, not in hands of the few government officials, in office annointing themselves, as your saviors.

One of the greatest flaws of today’s economic system is that demand for goods and services, which powers economic growth, depends on how much money people have and are able to spend. People have also become dependent upon the government, to solve their problems and needs, when in reality, they can do something themselves.

The government and corporate pursuit, of centralizing control of resources, is diminishing ‘diversity‘, community economies, and having every town and city, all look alike.

Shall we figure out how to start building change, starting at home? Finding individual success and prosperity can begin in our own community by working collectively and cooperatively, as a team. The big secret? Keep the money circulating in, and into the community versus sending it out of the area.

What? Purchasing goods from China, Indonesia, London, etc., sends money out of the community. It supports the governments vision, for the ‘global market’ and doesn’t help you, or your community.

#Shop Local

The message ‘Shop Local’ should be quite familiar. Learning to build an ‘economy’ in your community must begin with taking steps, to recognize where money is ‘leaving’ the community, and can be found in ‘imports’ and our ‘banks’. Town mayors and council should be aware of this too, and are they doing anything to promote, support, grow our community economy?

Shopping for items from other nations, sends our money to them. When we put money into our savings bank account, it also goes out of circulation, from the community, used by the government for their national plans. Neither of these actions helps to stimulate an ‘economy’ in our community.

Build  Business Partnerships and Network

We can change this with learning to ‘shop local’ and direct our banks, to invest our savings back into our own community projects through a community development committee or corporation, which also allows for accessing government grants, loans and funding.

The second step is to strengthen the levels of trade and exchange. This means, local store A buys and sells, local raw materials, hires local workers. These workers spend their earnings at another local store, B, who also buy and sell, local products, which helps this business pay their local workers. Banks can help stimulate the local economy with investments back into local community projects and businesses, providing loans, for expansion, start-up, training,etc.

A local product may cost a bit more but the effect of it’s return, back into the local market results as jobs, money circulation, an economy. One example, let’s explore the idea of producing a local jam. They would need a supplier for jars and lids. Another thought, offering a variety of berries, to expand the jam producers own product, could result in a berry farm. These businesses may require a loan to train workers, from the local community and purchase of needed equipment.

A second example, using invention and creativity to stretch existing scarce resources into new wealth which hadn’t existed before. Research the history of your area, use it to develop a Heritage or Cultural site, and promote it in the tourism industry. Stimulation of a healthy economy begins as other businesses may open to provide support, other or new services, or fills a new need.

Build a Community Identity

A few extra steps are needed. Success in building community spirit, will depend greatly upon the ‘sense of community’ between people, of all ages, ethnicity, and genders. A few solutions : create areas, activities and reasons for people to congregate and ‘bond’, interact socially, grow pride, in being part of developing a community identity, to call your own.

Every area where a community exists, is different and should be adapted with it’s natural environment versus imposing an un-natural environment. Do your best to build a unique and separate community identity.

Stimulating Economic Prosperity

Area’s to explore in stimulating ideas for economic prosperity, in your community, can begin with developing supporting projects in agriculture, health, environment, and education, to name a few.

Secondary business refers to providing manufacture type of industry and tertiary business refers to providing ‘service’ sector jobs. High costs of living can force communities to work towards examining alternative methods of providing needs for the people, such as lower housing affordability, community garden, or skills training.

Learning the needs of your community can be found through research, public input, secondary research reports, surveys, open meetings. A quick look at Maslow’s Law can also help as a reference guide and provide direction for improving societal shortcomings.

Maslows Law Pyramid

A community, is people working together, able to solve their own problems. A common goal can create cooperation, unity, dedication. A completed project instills pride and sense of accomplishment, empowerment and new beginnings for the community, over all.

It may not be an easy road and may require a ‘facilitator’ to help provide direction, but knowing just the basics, can improve your chances of success. People really can apply power over their lives and working together can build a new sense of community.

I hope you found this article informative. Please feel free to leave your comments, share your thoughts and share this article. Send me a Request through the Ask a Question form if you have a topic of interest you wish to know more about,  share a guest post or to say Hello!

Extra Reading

The Community Training & Development Centre

Useful Community Development- Urban to Rural

Community Development Corporation Manual Guide-Download

Learning in Motion  (may require Reload for Video to show)


Copyright Article (C) 2021, all Rights reserved. Ginsense creates and posts articles online about business development, micro business, health, science, technology and advocates on social issues.

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