COVID-19 should steer us away from jails and towards restorative justice – National Observer

by ahnationtalk on April 28, 202061 Views

April 28th 2020

Trapped in our new realities, we hope that on the other side of this pandemic, we will see fundamental changes to our socio-economic structures and to how we value human life and work.

We hope that our governments will implement significant policy changes, lessons of Covid-19. But we also know that, on many fronts, that hope is merely an illusion, a shimmery silver thread that glimmers far away in the darkness and is gone when daylight or normalcy returns.

One of these illusions relates to prisons and our notion of punishment, where the need for transformative change is urgent, but the likelihood a mere fantasy. Canada has been sorely reticent in addressing the threat of Covid-19 in our jails, let alone use it as a platform for long-term change.

Weeks ago, other countries began the release of prisoners in an attempt to reduce the spread of Covid-19 in jails. But Canada has only recently taken timid steps, while the virus mercilessly spreads among prisoners and correctional officers across the country, even closing down a Brampton jail as of April 20, with the inmates all being transferred to the already beleaguered Toronto South Detention Centre, a prison that has been widely criticized for its inhumane conditions and treatment of inmates, with one judge describing the situation as the state engaging in a “deliberate form of misconduct.”

Read More: https://www.nationalobserver.com/2020/04/28/opinion/covid-19-should-steer-us-away-jails-and-towards-restorative-justice

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