Are we wasting our police dollars?

Question: What widespread law enforcement campaign, revered by many boosters as an unmitigated, ongoing success, catches offenders a measly 0.2% of the time?

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Ontario police Tasers under the gun

You heard it here first. The Ontario government has ordered police forces across Ontario to test older model Tasers, electric stun guns, to ensure they’re working according to specs. The province’s Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services issued the directive today to all police services, after a troubling investigative report by CBC television. It…

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The law that can't be broken

Section 48(14) of the HTA

Police across Ontario are letting near drunk drivers off the hook by ignoring tough new rules in the province’s traffic law, the Highway Traffic Act. It’s kind of hard to imagine police wouldn’t use a bigger stick to whack drunks if they have one, but that’s just what they’re doing.

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Triple killing in Oshawa – nothing unusual here

There’s nothing unusual about the triple murder in Oshawa, Ont., of a husband, wife and their three-year-old son [Star, Globe], who were killed by a crazed, knife-wielding attacker who barged in on a birthday party of the couple’s 11-year-old son.

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Convict cartography: Where the bad guys are


View Kingston, prison capital of Canada in a larger map

Locating more than 2,000 convicts who call the Kingston area home is a matter of geography. They’re all mapped up. This cancrime map (click the view larger map link to explore) charts the location of the eight federal penitentiaries in the Kingston region that house prisoners serving sentences of two years or more. Kingston has the largest concentration of federal pens of any region in the country and is home to the nation’s oldest joint, Kingston Penitentiary, a stone fortress built along the Lake Ontario shoreline with convict labour. It opened in 1835.

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Drugs, torture, prison, torture, death

The drug subculture is a cesspool of violence. Need an example?

Read this.

It’s also a glimpse of one piece of a twisted puzzle. If a drug dealer is willing to snip off a man’s toe with garden shears, slice his body, rub salt into his wounds and bag his head, all because the victim is believed to have stolen marijuana, what will he do in prison, locked in a stifling and dehumanizing cage, when he takes offence to the daily misery and frustration of life behind bars?

The answer: He’ll do just about anything.

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Hidden gem: Legal feuds reveal hot jobs

See all hidden gems postsWhy troll online court records, looking for cases like this one?

2015-07-ES William George Thompson, Applicant v. Pinnacle Roofing Systems Inc., and Director of Employment Standards, Responding Parties.

Employment Practices Branch File No. 21207535

To find the really good jobs, of course. Like coppersmithing, which annually pays nearly as much as the premier of Ontario earned in 2007.
A coppersmith, like William Thompson of Kingston, often pockets $85 an hour – that’s more than $175,000 yearly. Thompson’s jaw-dropping pay scale is the hidden gem in this 2008 decision of the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OK, not technically court, but a quasi-judicial body that renders decisions, sometimes after conducting court-like hearings). Thompson was stiffed by an employer so he went to the board to collect. The board ordered the employer to cough up roughly $5,300. The dispute between Thompson and Pinnacle Roofing Systems is pretty standard stuff in labour circles, but the revelations about how much Thompson earns are stunning and the kind of fascinating tidbits that often bob to the surface when disputes are litigated. Thompson was doing custom roofing work at Royal Military College in Kingston, for Pinnacle, at the discount rate of $50 per hour. Typically, he makes $85 per hour. Inspired to switch careers? You can order DVDs to learn coppersmithing or take an eco-friendly holiday where it’s taught.

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Tough traffic law snares PM


Prime Minister Stephen Harper ran afoul of Ontario’s tough traffic law during the October federal election. The so-called street racing law gives police the power to seize a car and a driver’s licence on the spot if they catch a driver going 50 km/hr over the speed limit.

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The confusion of justice doublespeak

Is it any wonder average folks have a hard time understanding the criminal justice system when they read that a convict’s last two years in custody were spent on parole.

Police knew Gratton was living in northeast Edmonton, but he didn’t meet the criteria for them to notify the public, Chief Mike Boyd said.
Normally, notification of a high-risk offender is sent out if the offender is untreated and ineligible for early release or parole. Gratton’s last two years in custody were spent on parole, while he attended the Phoenix Program for serious sexual offenders at Alberta Hospital.

Huh? He spent two years in custody, on parole? Isn’t parole when you’re out of custody? How can he be out of custody, yet in custody, on parole?

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Brenda Martin parole records reveal dispute

Brenda MartinMost media reports ignored some controversy in the Brenda Martin (inset) parole case. She’s the Trenton, Ont., woman who spent two years in a Mexican prison. She was convicted there of money laundering. After a furious public campaign in Canada, she was transferred to a Canadian prison, then quickly paroled. She has maintained she was railroaded in Mexico. Corrections Canada staff who assessed her recommended she be ordered to undergo psychological counselling after release, according to a record of her May 9, 2008, parole decision (read it after the jump). The parole board refused to order it.

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