From the archives: Lifetime Effects of a Criminal Record
The John Howard Society of Canada
by David Dorson
2w ago
Post # 242 800 words; 4 minutes to read Summary: a criminal conviction carries many consequences that can last a lifetime.  The idea that a sentence is ever ‘over’ is not consistent with reality. An earlier version of this post appeared in September, 2017  – here.  The issues are at least as relevant today. It’s commonly believed that the consequence of being convicted of a crime lies in the sentence imposed by a judge.  “Do the crime, do your time”, one often hears.  But as a report from the Canadian Bar Association shows, the sentence imposed is only one co ..read more
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Are more judges key to ending court delays?
The John Howard Society of Canada
by David Dorson
2w ago
Post #241 1000 words; 4 minutes to read Summary: While timely appointment of judges is important, there are good reasons to believe that the delays in criminal courts are not primarily due to lack of judges, despite media reports.   Many recent media headlines have given the impression that there is a major problem in criminal justice in Canada due to the lack of appointments by the federal government.  Important cases, we hear, are being dismissed because there aren’t judges to hear them. But to what extent is this correct? A recent piece in the Toronto Star by Toronto lawyer Jody B ..read more
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Are more judges key to ending court delays?
The John Howard Society of Canada
by David Dorson
1M ago
Post #241 1000 words; 4 minutes to read Summary: While timely appointment of judges is important, there are good reasons to believe that the delays in criminal courts are not primarily due to lack of judges, despite media reports.   Many recent media headlines have given the impression that there is a major problem in criminal justice in Canada due to the lack of appointments by the federal government.  Important cases, we hear, are being dismissed because there aren’t judges to hear them. But to what extent is this correct? A recent piece in the Toronto Star by Toronto lawyer Jody B ..read more
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Broader lessons from the Zameer case
The John Howard Society of Canada
by David Dorson
1M ago
Post #240 900 words; 4 minutes to read Summary: The serious problems revealed in the Zameer case are not rare; they occur every day in Canada’s justice system but usually do not get noticed. The acquittal recently in Toronto of Umar Zameer on charges of having murdered police officer Jeffrey Northrup has generated a huge amount of commentary.  However much of this commentary has focused only on this case and has not addressed the vitally important larger issues it raises. Presumption of guilt Although our system often speaks with pride about the presumption of innocence, the rea ..read more
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Broader lessons from the Zameer case
The John Howard Society of Canada
by David Dorson
1M ago
Post #240 900 words; 4 minutes to read Summary: The serious problems revealed in the Zameer case are not rare; they occur every day in Canada’s justice system but usually do not get noticed. The acquittal recently in Toronto of Umar Zameer on charges of having murdered police officer Jeffrey Northrup has generated a huge amount of commentary.  However much of this commentary has focused only on this case and has not addressed the vitally important larger issues it raises. Presumption of guilt Although our system often speaks with pride about the presumption of innocence, the rea ..read more
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Effective treatment for people committing sex offences        
The John Howard Society of Canada
by David Dorson
2M ago
Post #239 800 words; 4 minutes to read Summary: Current practices on responding to sex offences would do more to reduce recidivism if they were more consistent with the available evidence .    Sex offenders are probably the most reviled group among all those convicted of crimes, even though the category includes a very wide array of behaviours.  They are also subject to conditions that other people with criminal convictions do not face, no matter what their crimes, such as the many restrictions associated with being on the sex offender registry.  Even within prisons people ..read more
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How can we help young men stay out of jail?
The John Howard Society of Canada
by David Dorson
2M ago
Post #238 900 words; 4 minutes to read   Summary: A study of 1600 young men in Quebec shows that imprisonment can badly interfere with normal life development, leading to increased recidvism. A very high proportion of the people in jail or in trouble with the law are young.  A recent  study by Isabelle Fortin-Dufour and colleagues in Quebec (also in book form) found that while males between 20 and 39 years of age are only 17% of the Canadian population, they make up 58% of those in the provincial and federal correction system. It has long been known that young men account for a ..read more
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How can we help young men stay out of jail?
The John Howard Society of Canada
by David Dorson
2M ago
Post #238 900 words; 4 minutes to read   Summary: A study of 1600 young men in Quebec shows that imprisonment can badly interfere with normal life development, leading to increased recidvism. A very high proportion of the people in jail or in trouble with the law are young.  A recent  study by Isabelle Fortin-Dufour and colleagues in Quebec (also in book form) found that while males between 20 and 39 years of age are only 17% of the Canadian population, they make up 58% of those in the provincial and federal correction system. It has long been known that young men account for a ..read more
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There is a problem with bail, but it’s not what we are being told
The John Howard Society of Canada
by David Dorson
2M ago
Post #237 1300 words; 5 minutes to read A report from the CCLA shows that the public and media conversation on bail is entirely inconsistent with the research evidence, which is that bail is too hard to get, with dire results.   Over the past year politicians, law enforcement, and media outlets were quick to assert that Canada’s bail system had become too lenient. These assertions are contradicted by decades of research documenting the operation of the bail system and the impact of pre-trial detention. The evidence shows that Canada’s bail system is indeed facing a crisis – but it is ..read more
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There is a problem with bail, but it’s not what we are being told
The John Howard Society of Canada
by David Dorson
3M ago
Post #237 1300 words; 5 minutes to read A report from the CCLA shows that the public and media conversation on bail is entirely inconsistent with the research evidence, which is that bail is too hard to get, with dire results.   Over the past year politicians, law enforcement, and media outlets were quick to assert that Canada’s bail system had become too lenient. These assertions are contradicted by decades of research documenting the operation of the bail system and the impact of pre-trial detention. The evidence shows that Canada’s bail system is indeed facing a crisis – but it is ..read more
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