The trends of Community Paralegals and Community Policing are revolutionary but not entirely new. With the rise of the #MeToo Movement we see how people are pushing to shift the idea of the law. And the fact that the Prison Industrial Complex is starting to get taken down little by little, thanks to the Prison Strikes. But there is a new form of justice that’s being enacted. These are Social Prisons set by some recent movements.
To explain what I mean let’s take a look at what happened with Louis CK over the summer. To get refreshed, Louis CK was the centerpoint of controversy last November when it was revealed that he had masturbated to completion – gross phrase – in front of various women. In August it was revealed that he had made a surprise appearance at the Comedy Cellar and then the internet exploded.
Now the issue a lot of people had was it was only 9 months since this scandal was broken by the #MeToo Movement. And there some people calling on him to never perform again. And there were even some people even saying that what he did was the equivalent of rape and that when it comes to these sort allegations there are no gray areas. This is troubling.
If we are to say there are no gray areas with it comes to cases of sexual assault and rape we are also giving a wide open claim for law enforcement and the powers that be to take away degrees of crimes in the current Prison System. So basically we’re saying that it’s ok to have weed smoker be in prison for as long as a murderer. No gray areas right. If we don’t find a way to figure out how to make Social Prisons work this idea could be co-opted by the Corporate Prison Industrial Complex and used against to put us all in Prisons.
The idea of the Social Prison is pretty new. So the rules aren’t totally set, but need to be. The question needs to be answered as how long are people who broke these social contracts supposed to be ostracized? And what about the idea of redemption? Much like actual Prison System, it seems like the Social Prison could use some reforming and organizing.
This idea of the Social Prison is driven by anger. And I get it. In a lot of cases of Sexual Assault the justice system has failed its people. And in some cases what people do isn’t punishable by the law. So we turn to these Social Prisons using call-outs and shame. But shame doesn’t work when you say the human being is wrong rather than the actions.
Driven by shame we push people like Louis CK inward and towards other that are only going to validate each other’s behavior. Instead I say we look to what we want to do the Real Prison System and rehabilitate. If we can teach compassion and empathy to those that have shown remorse for their misgivings then maybe we can start reducing the number of these sexual assaults.
Louis CK apologized and since his performance at the Comedy Cellar he hasn’t resurfaced…at least at the time this video was filmed he didn’t. But guys like Bill Cosby and Brett Kavanaugh don’t seem to have any remorse for what they’ve done. Cosby was laughing during his arrest and Kavanaugh proved to be an unstable human being that needs some anger management. I feel like he’s going to Ruth Bader Ginsberg a bitch for disagreeing with him and then flip a table. I’m sure there will be some men out that see that as true leadership instead of someone who’s spouse probably doesn’t want to touch him anymore.
Just like those in the APAC system, people that are remorseful and are looking redemption shouldn’t be defined by their crimes. Look we’ve all done stupid things as kids. I myself have set fire to and melted not just my toys but also my sisters. And if I was defined by that forever, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do a lot of things I was proud and excited about. It proves we aren’t mature enough as a society to accept apologies and encourage with positive reinforcement.
Think about that one annoying family member that locks into that one goofy thing you used to do as a child. And every Thanksgiving as you’re talking about your accomplishments and all the things you that you’re proud of really define yourself by, and they come out of the woodwork with the fact that you slept in whitey tideys till you 14. It’s real “smh” moment. That’s “shake my head” for older cats out there.
It’s a hard task to forgive, but if someone like Louis CK has shown remorse and ready to work on himself as person then I think we should offer them a second chance. What we have to do is decide how long they should be in this Social Prison, and allow them to find a way to talk about their transgressions when they come out. If they’re willing to see their mistake and work on themselves then society should help. And sure yeah, 9 months after your controversy is bit too soon. He might have come too quick there.
But these Social Prisons can be a powerful tool in today’s world where there is a lack of trust in the justice system and even less trust in each other. Like how the Community Paralegals can help us fight back against corporate exploitation of the legal system, the Social Prisons can help us fight back against the exploitation of people by people. And like how Community Policing can help us reduce the violence from law enforcement, Social Prisons can help reduce the violence of people by people. But they need a Community to be built around them to help them figure out what they’re all about.
As much as we champion for the disenfranchised we can’t forget about those that need help fitting into a changing world or a world that is different than they remember it. We can do that by reinforcing the idea of compassion, empathy and redemption to rehumanize those that we’ve forgotten were human. We can use the community at large to push the law and those that are supposed to enforce it towards the direction of protecting the people and planet. We can build a community and society where we are constantly learning and building instead of saying there only one right way to do it. There are several, and it’s going to take all of us working together to try all of them so we don’t wind up in a Society that Imprisons Us All.
Krish Mohan is a socially conscious, Indian standup comedian and writer who regularly tours the country. He performs at small theaters, bars, comedy clubs, colleges, DIY and house venues. With his quirky attitude, charming personality, and intelligent humor, Krish captivates and engages audiences of all backgrounds, tackling hot button topics like race, religion, war, immigration, while adding an optimistic, philosophical & sociological twist!