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Dyanoosh Youssefi

Lawyer, Professor, Social Justice Advocate, Founder, All IN

Dyanoosh Youssefi is a social justice advocate, a lawyer, a professor, and a politico. She is the founder of All IN, an advocacy organization committed to promoting inclusive communities ( She writes about criminal justice issues on her blog, and volunteers with human rights and justice-seeking organizations. Follow Dyanoosh Youssefi on Twitter @DyanooshY.

The Toronto Police Have Failed to Tackle Racial Profiling

Toronto's police board has gone from refusal, to resistance, to resignation, to recognition of the problem, to partial resolution (the PACER report) and now, to retraction, recalcitrance and regression. What happened to the commitment to a fair and equitable society, to bias-free policing? The TPSB is set to vote this Thursday on a policy that is offensive and insidious. This new policy not only eliminates the requirement to issue receipts, but it takes us back even further than we were a few months ago. Is this the direction of an oversight body and a civilian boss that was once committed to diversity and fair treatment?
04/14/2015 12:40 EDT
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Why This Arrest of a Defence Lawyer Was So Wrong

Laura Liscio, a criminal defence lawyer, was arrested in Brampton Court on Thursday, February 12, allegedly for passing narcotics to her in-custody client. According to many accounts, police arrested her in full view of the public, while she was in her lawyers' attire, about to enter a courtroom and represent her client. She should not have been arrested this way.
02/17/2015 01:10 EST
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How City Council Can Build the Toronto That We Want

There has never been a more critical and opportune time to take control of Toronto's development plans. Our city is in the middle of a development boom, yet we face a housing crisis. Despite this grim reality, there is still the opportunity to do better for our city. In fact, we are well-positioned to build a beautiful city that is vibrant, inclusive, and more mindful of the environment.
11/30/2014 11:14 EST
KIVILCIM PINAR via Getty Images

A Law School That Bans Homosexuals Has No Place in Canada

What makes this case especially disconcerting is where freedom of religion is being permitted to trump basic equality. The "where" is a potential law school: the very place where students learn and train to become champions of equality and promoters of justice. Those of us in the legal profession flatter ourselves that the law is one of the greatest tools in advancing justice and in fighting inequality. Before being admitted to the bar, we take an oath to uphold the rule of law and to safeguard the rights and freedoms of all peoples.
12/19/2013 07:44 EST

Canadians Need to Stop These Appalling New Laws in Their Tracks

Who needs to pay $200.00 a ticket to see Les Misérables in theatres, when we can get free, premium seats in our own courtrooms? Unreasonable fines and the threat of jail for a person's inability to pay a court-imposed fee affronts the spirit of our sentencing principles, is immoral and unconstitutional.
11/08/2013 07:24 EST

Our Government is Tough On People and Stupid On Crime

If the government cared about accountability and helping victims of crime, it would promote programs that help victims heal, confront their offenders and their fears, and move on with their lives. If the government truly cared about accountability and the welfare of victims, it would invest in good restorative justice programs.
10/30/2013 08:57 EDT

James Forcillo's Bail Proves a Double Standard

On Tuesday, officer James Forcillo surrendered to the Special Investigations Unit, was taken into custody, and by the afternoon, was already out on bail. While the decision to release Forcillo pending his trial is, indeed, a sensible one, the injustice of the release stems from the fact that other accused persons are rarely offered the same rational, compassionate treatment.
08/21/2013 12:31 EDT

Will We Ever Learn the Whole Truth About Sammy Yatim's Death?

Eighteen-year-old Sammy Yatim was shot nine times, Tasered, and killed by Toronto police early Saturday morning. It is unlikely that many details will emerge any time soon. And if history is an indicator, many of the details may never be known, unless there is a public inquiry. But while members of the police are required, by law, to co-operate with the SIU investigation, there are a great many obstacles that are likely to hamper the SIU's work. Here are some.
07/29/2013 11:21 EDT

When Videos of Police Brutality Are Not Enough, Citizens Must Act

The proliferation of cellphone cameras is increasingly catching those meant to serve and protect us in acts of violence and brutality against us. But catching the police red-handed has not stopped police abuse of power. Videos, law suits, inquests, inquiries and public outcries -- none of these seem to have shaken the intractable police conviction that some civilians deserve to be beaten by the police, and that the police can act with impunity. Police culture CAN change. It is not intractable. But it will only change through the political power of engaged citizens.
07/23/2013 08:31 EDT

The Harper Government Has no Insite on Canadians With Addictions

Harper's government introduced Bill C-65, a Bill that may make it nearly impossible to build another safe-injection site. The government surely knows that the law may not stand Charter scrutiny. But the Conservatives don't care about that. They will push ahead with the Bill because it makes it sound like they care about (some) Canadians. But in doing so, the Harper government harms not only those with addictions, but all Canadians.
06/09/2013 11:35 EDT

NCR: Why Richard Kachkar Didn't Get Away With Murder

Richard Kachkar's not criminally responsible verdict has divided observers. They feel that justice was not done, that the jury was duped, and worst of all, that Kachkar's life is going to be spared while that of his victim was not. But an NCR finding is not tantamount to escaping justice. And it is not a ticket to freedom.
03/29/2013 11:28 EDT

Harper's Crime and Punishment Agenda: Top 7 Disastrous Laws

Every week, it seems the Harper government introduces a new bill or initiative purportedly aimed at making our "streets and communities safe." Rather than make us safer, however, these crime and punishment laws are leading us toward disaster. A complete list of all the changes would fill up a hefty book. Instead, here is a quick overview of a few of the laws that have been enacted by the Conservatives.
02/27/2013 12:52 EST

Do Conservatives Really Want to Help Victims?

Our current federal government's approach to dealing with crime and helping victims has been simple and simply wrong: keep people in jail longer, increase sentences, expand mandatory minimums and focus on punishment, not prevention or rehabilitation.
02/07/2013 05:48 EST

When Bad Cops Get Away With Crimes

The Crown is appealing the sentences of the former Toronto police drug squad officers who were convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice and received 45-day conditional sentences (house arrest)...
01/30/2013 04:25 EST

Should the Mentally Ill Be Put in Jail?

In the House of Commons, Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews said "Individuals with mental health issues do not belong in prisons but rather in professional health facilities." He made this sweeping and dramatic claim in the wake of the release of the Ashley Smith videos, which portrayed her horrendous and inhumane treatment while she was in custody. Toews's comments might give an observer hope -- hope that soon we will stop putting people with mental health problems in jails. But in reality, the actions of the federal government lead to a different, bleaker conclusion.
11/30/2012 07:41 EST