Short one today, because Flint’s crisis has exhausted every last bit of my brainpower.
In general, prison should have five goals, as described by criminologist Bob Cameron: retribution, incapacitation, deterrence, restoration, and rehabilitation.
We look at prison as punishment here. We treat this as revenge.
We just sentenced rapist Daniel Holtzclaw to 263 years in prison. My first thought is “TAKE THAT, STUPID RAPIST.”
Who lives for 200 years?
Revenge is not an appropriate way to run a country. Revenge is why we have more of our population incarcerated than any other nation. Revenge is why we perpetuate racist, classist systems and wonder why we have a racist, classist society. Revenge is why children become adults behind bars. Revenge is why sexual assault is so prevalent in prison that it is treated as a joke and becomes part of the punishment.
Revenge is why people come out of prison traumatized; more trauma = less ability to cope with negative life events = recidivism.
And we wonder why our country is so messed up. We’re destroying our mental health and our society in the process.
There’s got to be another way.