Click Map for Details

Flag Counter

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Intoxicating Assumptions

I would like to identify two apparent assumptions upon which the justice and penal systems in America are based. 1) Free will and free choice are uniformly reliable facts about the behavior of man. This permits blame to be determined and applied with relative facility.  2) The primary purpose of prisons is to inflict psychological pain as a matter of retributive justice. This promises to bring remorse and, as a bonus, will change minds for the better.

These assumptions represent the ascent of fantasy. 1) Free will and free choice are mainly fictional conjectures of convenience whereby society escapes the responsibility of ferreting out and dealing with the complexities of life’s myriad personal and communal involutions. 2) Since a person’s predictable response to gratuitously inflicted psychological pain is likely to be adverse and negative, retributive justice of this sort will embed resentment and generally change minds for the worse.

I have pled for nurturing before and I do so again now. Inherent in the concept of nurturing is discipline, love, and intimacy.  Until we learn how to nurture outside prison walls, we will perforce fail to do so within them.

Print Page