Is incarceration beneficial to humanity, to our cultural evolution and to the very fabric of social existence? The answer as it currently is represented at a mainstream globalised level is no. The answer is no for various reasons. Firstly incarceration is a what I like to call a closed loop process, this means that if we look at the process of what incarceration involves it can be summed up as follows (Now, before we continue further I would like to state that the criticism on incarceration is towards mainstream models of imprisonment that are currently in place today. This models find themselves all over the world and are not limited to the USA):
- Crime committed ⇒
- Trial takes place ⇒
- Individual goes to prison ⇒
- Whilst there, very little if any rehabilitation or education or treatment of any kind takes place and in addition to that the prisoner is placed in to an environment with other individuals that may (usually) have psychosocial maladjustments and internalised behavioural and emotional issues – this further raises the question of causality, but lets address that later ⇒
- Prisoner is released after ‘paying his debt to society’ (how exactly, by personally suffering)? and is immersed back in to society ⇒
- Question? What happens next…?
Ok, so here we have a system that simply removes individuals from society for what is effectively short periods of time that are perceived as ‘socially unstable’ and then releases these people back in to mainstream society, having spent time in an environment that ultimately reinforces their original behaviours… Interesting… There is little to no recuperation, rehabilitation, mentoring, awareness providing programs, mental health assistance or reintegration back in to society. What then occurs? The same cycle as previously, this cycle compounds and worsens with time, population growth and outdated sociocultural methodologies dealing with societal issues.
The issue is not crime, as a society we must allegorically peel this layer of existence back further several times and ask what the causes are of this pathology? Is it collective, individual, familial? The answer is all of the above. Particularly the way in which our society reinforces (both overtly and covertly) dominant ideologies, systems and sociocultural practices that govern what society ‘focus’ upon. I am not blaming government or any particular ‘ism’ per say, what I am suggesting is that our current socio-economic and sociocultural systems are flawed and outdated for they are allowing major occurrences to take place.
1. Our focus as a collective whole is on Economy of finances – the prison system is worth hundreds of billions world wide – including financial incentives to governments by the private sector. This fact in and of itself is enough to get us asking many questions? Why would the system change when it benefits so many powerful groups?
2. As a collective whole we are neglecting prioritising the welfare of individuals
3. We have been psychologically conditioned to compete for resources – this conditioning and ‘way of life’ has had an impact on the way in which we treat each other
4. Our collective focus has shifted towards individualism rather than the collective welfare of society and the benefit that this focus would have
5. We are not respecting technology and the holistic and collective benefits to be had, but rather focusing purely upon selfish motivations
The above points carry with them tremendous weight in the manner in which we behave, act and drive our lives. It impacts public policy, individual and collective priorities and ideologies, belief systems, our ethics and morals and the way in which we interact with each other.
We have a choice to reevaluate the manner in which we are behaving. The way we treat people that we do not socially accept currently does not lend itself to an inclusive society. History and expert studies within the areas of sociology demonstrate that an exclusive society is not a dynamic healthy society and eventually burns out…
We have a choice to be inclusive. A narrow sociocultural issue such as incarceration is in affect a broad social issue, for it represents who we are as people and what we stand for. We have the choice to look deeper and question why people are behaving the way in which they do? Is it a collective problem? Can we choose to be different? Can we evolve the way in which we treat each other? Do our education systems have a role to play? Does government and the way in which we distribute wealth have a role to play? Does the manner and attitude we have towards the environment as an infinite resource channel for humanity play a role in the way in which we behave…?
I believe have the choice to evolve and change that is perceived as ‘bad’ is only done so because of irrational fear… We have a choice to give, cooperate and act incisively, with empathy and compassion… What do you choose? SS.