In the past week and a half there has been a wave of stories out of Winnipeg that shine a spotlight not only on police practices but larger questions about the ongoing legacies of colonialism, structural violence and institutional racism that play out in this settler nation. More specifically, I am talking about Tina Fontaine as her case returned to the headlines last week with the sentencing of her father’s killers; and an admission by Winnipeg police that officers saw the missing teen and did not take her into protective custody—it is believed she was murdered shortly thereafter.
I will state here, at the outset, that I am not writing this article to blame these police officers for Tina’s death. On the contrary, I am writing this to join many other voices that are pointing out the need for systemic change in Canada.
Prison Without Walls appears in this month’s Atlantic. It is written by Graeme Wood and discusses the use of home monitoring/electronic ankle monitors. Of note I think is the discussion including some that “correct” elements of the text. A few months back the Economist also ran some work on prisons (Joys of Overcrowding)which also generated a few interesting comments.
I find these types of pieces (and the online comments) useful teaching tools. Are there other recent pieces that are on people’s radar?
The past week found executions (and the questions that surround capital punishment) in the news. In Ohio, the execution of Romell Broom was “botched” and eventually called off when technicians were unable to deliver the lethal injection citing his drug use as their reason to not hit a vein after nearly two hours. Initially there was an attempt to set a second execution date — which was temporarily halted as questions of cruel and unusual punishment are considered. During the same week, Stephen Moody was executed in Texas, the John Allen Muhammad the so-called “DC sniper” had his execution date set while others fought to avoid extradition and execution in the US. Here are a few pieces to recap the week alongside a few interesting opinion pieces.
SECOND UP – Graffiti artist receives four year prison sentence and we wonder why the prisons are both overcrowded and a booming industry?
Only one crime was solved by each 1,000 CCTV cameras in London last year, a report into the city’s surveillance network has claimed. [Access BBC article]
The internal police report found the million-plus cameras in London rarely help catch criminals.
In one month CCTV helped capture just eight out of 269 suspected robbers.
David Davis MP, the former shadow home secretary, said: “It should provoke a long overdue rethink on where the crime prevention budget is being spent.”
The Metropolitan Police has been extraordinarily slow to act to deal with the ineffectiveness of CCTV
David Davis MP
He added: “CCTV leads to massive expense and minimum effectiveness.
“It creates a huge intrusion on privacy, yet provides little or no improvement in security.
“The Metropolitan Police has been extraordinarily slow to act to deal with the ineffectiveness of CCTV.”
Nationwide, the government has spent £500m on CCTV cameras.
But Det Sup Michael Michael McNally, who commissioned the report, conceded more needed to be done to make the most of the investment.
He said: “CCTV, we recognise, is a really important part of investigation and prevention of crime, so how we retrieve that from the individual CCTV pods is really quite important.
“There are some concerns, and that’s why we have a number of projects on-going at the moment.”
Among those projects is a pilot scheme by the Met to improve the way CCTV images are used.
Officers from 11 boroughs have formed a new unit which collects and labels footage centrally before distributing them across the force and media.
It has led to more than 1,000 identifications out of 5,260 images processed so far.
Page last updated at 16:19 GMT, Monday, 24 August 2009 17:19 UK
Janice Harper was an Assistant Professor with the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, who was denied tenure earlier this spring and fired from her position with the university on July 31, 2009. An anthropologist, Dr. Harper has made valuable contributions to medical and environmental issues through her teaching and scholarship. In the course of her tenure evaluation Dr. Harper was subjected to a Homeland Security investigation. No evidence of criminal activity was found. A report by the University of Tennessee’s Faculty Senate Appeals Committee (June 15, 2009) has fully exonerated Dr. Harper. The Faculty Senate Appeals Committee’s report describes multiple violations of university procedure and supports claims that Dr. Harper was denied a fair tenure evaluation.
Counterpunch article by David Price (anthropologist) on Janice Harper’s case
Janice Harper’s Faculty Profile
Petition in support of Janice Harper