Thinker in Residence Blog

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No time to think let along blog!

Posted by peggyhora on April 15, 2010

These weeks are telescoping together so fast I can hardly keep up with myself.  This is the part of the residency, I’m told, that makes every Thinker crazy.  If so, I’m right on schedule.  I met with Health Minister Hill on Tuesday to discuss substance abuse and mental health issues.  This led to a meeting with all the top management that will take place next week.  We also talked about smoking being allowed in or near restaurants and he’s working on that.  I can’t sit outside on Rundle St. and have a meal because it is like being in an ashtray.  Later that night was  The Thinkers Return public forum and was attended by @1,000  people.  Amazing.  I thought it went very well.  Since I got two laughs, I was pleased.  I used the “War on Drugs” as an example of a crisis leading to 2.3 million people incarcerated in the U.S. and 1:45 on corrections supervision.  I said that California’s Three Strikes laws was examples of a response that didn’t represent change which resulted in state spending of $8 billion for the Dept. of Corrections and I used CA drug courts as an example of change in relation to the drug crisis which resulted in savings of $48 million a year.  Professor Ilona Kickbusch, a public health innovator who works with the World Health Organization and Dr. Geoff Mulgan known as “Britian’s Brain” under Tony Blair were the other speakers.  Refined company indeed.  I had a great meeting with Minister Koutsantonis on Thursday and we had a chat about Corrections’ issues.  He is quite supportive of the kind of programming I’ve been talking about including discharge planning for people getting out of prison.  My evening ended with a fine dinner with Youth Minister Rankine at Panacea, a new restaurant that emphasizes seafood.  Fried oysters with aioli – yum.  Today is meeting-free and I’m going to work on my farewell address (ALREADY?) to be delivered on Tuesday.  Over 600 people have booked for “It Pays to Deliver Smart Justice.”

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