Our principles and notions of punishment are founded upon –at times centuries old– notions of justice, punitiveness. individualism, and deterrence. Yet these responses to wrongdoing and social deviance are not supported by most studies available on deterrence, rehabilitation, or healing. But we keep doing things the same old way, decade after decade.
Canada’s Minister of Justice, Jody Wilson-Raybould, was given a mandate to review and transform the criminal justice system. Little has happened over the last 2 years, however, to give hope that we are on a path to revolutionize or even remodel our justice system. We’ve only seen small, mostly cosmetic changes, just as Indigenous peoples, people of colour, and people with mental health issues are over-institutionalized, the number of prisoners remains steady, and the cost to society increases.
And that’s where we enter.
We are planning a day-long conference for mid-November, for the public as well as for legal professionals, social justice advocates, and others. This event aims to bring together politicians, correctional workers, non-profit leaders, academics, lawyers, restorative justice advocates, people with lived experiences, and folks like us to discuss the characteristics and challenges of our current notion of punishment, and to imagine more effective means of dealing with offenses, offenders, victims, and their communities.
We will leave the conference not only more informed and invigorated, but with an action plan to help bring about change.
But we need you to help us!! We have a small team to organize the conference, but we need more help if we are to pull it together for November. If you are interested, write back to this email, outlining how you think you can contribute. Some possible areas:
Let’s hear from you as soon as you can, as we are planning a meeting (to be held in about 2 weeks), and we hope to see you there!
Your small but dedicated All IN team