Just this past August all of North America saw one of the largest Prison Strikes. No it’s not that all the prisons went on strike and weren’t taking any more inmates which would cause mass pandemonium across the populous. If the prisons weren’t taking anymore inmates the so called civilized would go nuts, breaking every law they could. Dudes would be masturbating on every corner, laughing maniacally! Basic bitches would be looting at every mall! Alcoholics would be putting their filthy mouths right up to the taps at every bar.
And I’m not saying alcoholics are the only ones with filthy mouths…mouths in general are gross. So settled down you sensitive pricks ok, I have alcoholic friends so I can make a joke like that. Hell, I’d break a few laws. I’d just park where I want, when I want. What’s that princess parking on the sidewalk, don’t mind if I do! And then tell all the Parking Authority to go fuck themselves and that you can’t own parking spots! It’s the people’s parking spot now! And then I’d spraypaint the Anarchy A right on their Parking Authority shirt!
The first one is pretty simple. The conditions of prisons should be humane. After all isn’t the point of prison to help people that committed a crime find their humanity back. Rehabilitate them back into society. If the conditions of their removal from society isn’t something you would want it to be in then how can we expect them to function well when they get out?
Prisons are often built next to sludge pools that contaminate their water and food supplies. Cafeteria food isn’t supposed to all that great, but I don’t think it’s supposed to be ACTUAL sludge. It’s just supposed to look like it.
Look I went to public school, which some of us thought was like prison. Instead of gangs you just had cliques. The cheerleaders, the jocks, the burnouts, the kids that dressed up like their favorite Anime character everyday! These little cliques were little gangs and they would have little initiation ceremonies for you get in.
But if you served actual sludge to High School kids, the gangs will unite and revolt. The cheerleaders would creating an environmental disaster with how much they’d puking. The jocks would be running plays to get the vending machines and the primo shit in the Teacher’s Lounges. And the Anime Nerds would Kame-Hame-Ha you to kingdom come! The plus side is the prisoners are probably more mature than teenagers and decided to strike against being treated like the sludge they are fed.
In terms of mental health, solitary confinement can break a person’s psyche. The UN considers it torture, but then again, when has America really considered what the UN has to say. Solitary confinement teaches you how be in a cubicle, staring at the gray wall in front of you as you slowly forget what the concept of time and become one with the spreadsheet. Well there’s no spreadsheets in solitary confinement in Prisons…not yet anyway. You wouldn’t want blatant evidence of the corporatocracy.
And the conditions of the prison was a spark to mobilize the Strike. The Strike wasn’t supposed to happen till 2019 but a riot at Lee Correctional facility in South Carolina that left 7 inmates dead and more injured, which prompted the strikers decided to move forward. The riot happened after access to the inmates lockers were taken away, swapping cell mates and poking the politics of prison inmates. The guards didn’t do much and let it escalate before getting involved.
So the conditions of our current prisons don’t rehabilitate but rather wind these people up so tight that they burst. From less than poor living conditions, to losing what little you have to constantly being poked and prodded this system does little to ensure that the inmates are ready for society. Hell they are barely ready for middle school by the end of it. I doubt even the burnouts would want to hangout with some these inmates, and that’s damn shame, because I bet these inmates know exactly where to get some great weed.
The second is the big one! End Prison Slavery! Prisoners are paid next to nothing for their labor. This is also a major demand of the Operation PUSH movement too. Back in January there was a 30 day Prison Strike in Florida and end wage slavery for prisoners was top of the list. This addresses the fact that items in Prison are highly inflated in price. A $4 can of soup is $17 in prison! You’d think the prison wardens were getting tips from Bankers… … …
So the major question everyone has, why should we care that Prisoners aren’t getting paid anything for their labor? These are criminals, deviants, depots, pot smokers and jay-walkers… why should they get paid a decent wage. I’m glad you asked. I’ll repeat this again. If the point of Prison is meant to rehabilitate, then they should know what it’s like to manage a budget and make a decent wage. It’s important know the value of yourself so you can learn the value of another human life.
But then again that’ll mean changing the way we look at our own jobs. Perhaps if we knew the value of our own work, we’d fight a little harder for the value of prison labor. But labor itself is the transformation of slavery. CEOs and Corporate Lords are making 400 times what the employee makes in some cases and some of us on the outside are working 2 or 3 jobs to get by. When a society treats its civilians this terribly it’s no surprise that the prison population is given hardly anything for their labor.
Organizations like Operation PUSH and Jailhouse Lawyers Speak advocate for prisoner wage reform so when they leave and re-enter society they can afford a way to get back on their feet instead of the system telling them to sink or swim. At the current moment that’s what the system says and this is causes the recidivism. That’s when ex-felons commits a crime again that puts them back in prison.
I mean the system says the thing to us when it comes to the job market. The competitive edge to make sure you succeed and someone else fails. So in some ways, the current prison system is showing what the corporate world has to offer on the outside, since that’s who owns the prisons anyway. The only difference is promotion in a corporation is gained through mentally shiving your opponent instead of physically.
In Floridian prisons, gain time is practiced. This is where the Prisoners can work to decrease time off their sentence. Doesn’t sound so bad. It kinda sucks when you realize that it doesn’t help anyone serving long sentences or even life sentences. What’s a few years when you have 65 years and no parole on your docket. It’s like being stuck in classroom on the first day summer and your teacher says we’re getting out 2 minutes early. It’s cruel and feels like time has stopped.
If we paid Prisoners a decent wage then they can buy what they need comfortably and if need be they can send some money home. That’s right, even though they are serving time, some inmates would jump at the chance to help their families. And that’s how bad our income disparity is…that even though someone works 2 jobs they might still need income from an inmate to be stable! Labor is just transformed slavery!
And this is one of the major things the Strikes achieved. After this was revealed people don’t want to see prisoners exploited and diminished for their work. This strike started the conversation for ending prison slavery!
The Strike also asked for ensuring legal services to inmates, stop the denial of rehabilitation programs, and restoring the right for prisoners to vote! Once again if the point is to rehabilitate then when you get out of prison should you be able to do what everyone else does. So their voices should count in the world they are reintroduced to. If not it repeats the cycle of resentment and increases recidivism.
This current system is not about rehabilitation. It’s part of the reason that was in the list of demands. The current system is for profit. The prisons are owned by corporate sugar daddies and they don’t get their allowance unless those cells and beds are filled.
Recidivism is what they rely on. That’s their bread and butter. They can’t keep inventing new crimes to put people in prison for. With the rate that marijuana is getting legalized in this country they can’t use that as a boogeyman. So they have to go with long con…pardon the pun there…and psychologically attack the inmates to ensure they come back to the system or stay in it! It’s like they want people to get addicted to Prisons. I don’t think our society can handle a Prison Epidemic right now.
And I know there are some of you out there are saying, “Krish this was weeks and weeks ago, why talk about it now!? The news cycle is over with this story! We all know Prisons are bad now!” Well that’s not enough. I don’t want people to forget. Just because the news cycle is over doesn’t mean the Prison Industrial Complex is! So consider this bringing it back in the news cycle!
The main point of this Strike is to make sure that inmates regain their humanity. And forgetting about the strikes is forgetting that. This should still be on people’s lips. Ex felons and cons should be treated with the same dignity as everyone else. That’s the first step to changing this broken system!
Dotstoyevsky said “The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons” We should have better prisons. If there was Prison Reform then maybe there would less and less crime. Then when we outgrow the need for a prison, we can politely ask the man masturbating on the street corner to put his dick away! AND we can finally park on logical areas in the streets without fear of the oppression of the rent-a-cops that think they’re the law! It will be the people’s parking!
As we keep going forward after the Prison Strike of 2018, people must be wondering would reforming the system actually work? After all aren’t these scary criminals! Why would we want all those mustache twirling doomsters to be out their concrete boxes!? The strikes were meant to show these folks how to be better people. With thoughts like this mixed with the degradation of good lifestyle conditions it only proves that they’re pushed into even more violent and unstable conditions.
Therein lies the problem with real prison reform; the way we look at Inmates and Ex Felons. As I mentioned earlier we should be looking at them as fellow human beings. A lot of them want to redeem themselves in the eyes of society. But in the eyes of society they’re always some kind of sub-human monster that wants to end the world. We need a change in that perspective! Just because Justice is blind doesn’t mean the rest of us have to be.
Now there are several places that have acted on the principles that are stated by the 2018 Prison Strike! Ok, just to be fair we will start in the United States. Yes, the hypocritical country that claims we have unlimited freedoms like AT&T claims you get unlimited data but has largest prison population like AT&T has largest contractual fuck yous.
And I’m starting here because now people can’t sit and claim that I hate America. I don’t hate America, I just want it to stop hating itself. America sold itself to corporate power and the whims of the elites forgetting about how the working class and immigrants really built the place…oh and slaves. What makes America, America is being stomped on and oppressed by itself! I just want America to see that it can be better than a oligarchical corporate shitshow.
Now that we got that disclaimer out of the way, let’s talk about the PACT program thats is being implemented in Massachusetts. The People Achieving Change Together program’s main goal is teaching responsibility and breaking the cycle. This might be the first time that something is tried that hasn’t been a initiative of profit.
And if responsibility is the main goal of this program maybe we can put the CEOs of War Profiting companies in there. You know teach Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics that too can and will shoulder the blame of a exploitative war machine and maybe they should stop funding it! By which I mean themselves. They should stop themselves. They could shut their companies down and help rebuild the countries they helped destroy.
PACT operates as a separate unit where jail politics don’t exist and the inmates can be off guard. That means what we’ve seen in shows like Oz and Oz: the Next Generation doesn’t happen. In this separate unit they can go to therapy and mandatory Anger Management. They are also on a consistent schedule of work and classes. This is all to help them re-enter society as functional adults.
The point is that this will help decrease recidivism and help at risk youth. But some people like the Bristol County Sheriff, Thomas Hodgson claim that we should focus on decreasing at risk youth at the start instead of pushing experimental practices that restore compassion and empathy.
But unfortunately Sheriff Hodgson wouldn’t like to decrease the amount of non-violent crimes that are prisonable offenses like smoking or knowing what marijuana is. Oh and when cops stop looking at these so-called at risk youths as the enemy. Or if we can decrease the racial barrier between cops and the communities they are supposed to serve and protect instead of harass and separate we wouldn’t have so many people be at risk! What we are at risk from is the law.
Maybe more of America would be able to adopt more of these experimental practices if people weren’t so constantly worried about being number 1 in everything! We are competing over an excellence in slavery and giving our citizens permanent PTSD! Look let’s all agree right now that if you’re country uses any kind of slave labor you don’t even get a participation trophy. Until they decide to pay a fair livable wage to their factory workers they don’t even get a gold star by these country’s names!
In Germany there is a large focus in 2 aspects for prisons. The first is architectural safety. They want to make the environment is safe for their prisoners instead ones where they get an infection and are ignored by the guards. They want create an environment where dropping soap doesn’t just stop possible prison rapes, but also diseases contracted from a dirty prison shower. The point is a more comfortable environment means they focus on rehabilitation rather than trying to Andy Dufrense themselves out of prison.
The second thing the German’s focus on is relational safety. They are encouraged to make friends and form bonds, not gangs. That way a culture of fear isn’t bred in the prisons. Freedom from fear can lead more compassion and empathy in a person. And again this helps in the rehabilitation aspect of prison reform!
And we can totally use these idea in American prisons! If we can’t curb violence from the guards we can put those puffy gym mats on the walls, so they shove the inmates against that they just bounce back at the guard and land a hug. Showing the guards they don’t need be feared and that even if their dad didn’t love them maybe this reforming murderer does. I feel like that is way better than Orange Is New Black! Compassion Is The New Orange!
Let’s head over to Brazil, which has the fourth largest prison population in the world. They don’t really get an trophy. Maybe that’s why they have such a radical prison reform idea. The Association for Protection and Assistance to Convicts or APAC program is a prisoner run incarceration program. It’s run by inmates for inmates!
APAC doesn’t look at prisoners as inmates, they called them “recuperando”, or recovering people. There are 3 levels to prisons. A closed section where there’s a sign that says “the man enters, crime stays out”. This where the people that commit the most heinous of crime are kept in a calm environment. The phrase above ensures that you have an opportunity to not be defined by your misgivings.
The semi-open section includes things like running a store room or office and an open section that involves jobs like guarding the door! That’s right, the prisoners guard their own doors and none of them want to escape! They want to stay there and serve their time to show their remorse and better themselves as individuals within a community. It’s like being an RA in college but you actually get learn something at the end of the instead of hunting for freshmen kids trying to get their dicks wet.
With the environment they are in, they can focus on returning home to their families and pursuing their passions outside prison. PLUS if they do escape they lose their opportunity to be in the APAC system. A sign of remorse is a major quality to get transferred from the violent, unstable prisons to one where you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Because you’re actually allowed to hangout in the light!
In this system no one should be in their cells unless they’re sick…or yes faking sick. Because this is pretty close to the outside and people call off work sick all the time, I’m sure it’s known to happen. But instead of playing X-Box in their underwear they’re still in some kind of a prison, so I think these prisoners have a better attendance record and discipline than most free people!
They all have a regimented schedule of work, chores and extracurriculars. They sweep the streets, they run the stores, they add labels to soaps made in the prison itself, which I have to assume come with better grips. And they do so much more. They get to re-engage with the community, give back and have a sense of purpose and responsibility. This creates less recidivism and some even want to work as apart of creating more APAC prisons!
The first thing they do when they get to the APAC is go to woodworking shop where they work with their hands. The idea is, they destroyed something, so now they have create something to being their process of redemption. This instills the fact that they are still human beings and much like the sign above the closed area, they won’t be defined by their crime.
Overcrowding isn’t an issue because they only take in about 200 people per APAC. This program has been successful enough to spread to Ecuador and Chile. It is hard to get a program like this together everywhere because it takes a lot of political will and state involvement! So the people have to be on board and a system has to be less about profit and more about people.
We can totally adopt a system like this in the states! Maybe if this was adopted here in the States, bankers wouldn’t be so scared to go to prison and they’d learn that fucking over the Middle Class with predatory lending practices isn’t right. Instead of justifying their actions and looking for corrupt politicians to bail them out in fear of gang shivings and dropping the soap, they would you know ask for forgiveness and serve their time. The same can go for violent cops, War mongers, domestic abusers, and anyone that ACTUALLY wants to redeem themselves in the eyes of the people and their community.
Now I’m sure there’s some of you out there that say that if prisons are actually comfortable places then what’s the point of punishment! “The harsh environment is what they need to know they’re punished Krish!” Actually the fact that they’re away from their families, communities and loved ones is the punishment. The rest of prison is meant to be a way to re-introduce them into society. Not just keep them there for the purposes of a CEO somewhere that needs to light a cigar with a hundred dollar bill.
Aside from the PACT program there isn’t any prison reforms on a large scale happening in America. And part of that comes from the dehumanization of prisoners in the eyes of society. We need to be better and treat these folks better. They’ve asked for redemption and we can give it to them. Programs like APAC, Germany’s prisons and the PACT program help people find their second chance. They work to break the cycle. So why not let them have a REAL second chance?
Another aspect of the Prison Strike of 2018 was giving people an opportunity to show the world that they can learn to be better and get out of jail early! But that means working within the confines of the legal system, which is not particularly easy to navigate. If it were law school would be breeze and courtroom dramas would be boring as sin! Ice T wouldn’t have a career if law was written was the citizens! He would just have a lucrative rap career…
Most people don’t even trust lawyers. Most people think Lawyers are liars…sometimes including family members! If you’re encouraged spent hundreds and thousands of dollars on a degree that only makes you a professional liar then I think we should rethink the whole fuckin’ system. I mean Ice T would be so mad that he has to work with lyin’ snitches even if it is fictional! Have the lawyers even considered Ice T’s feelings!? That’s neither lawful or order…ful.
There might be one company that probably cares about Ice T’s feelings. He might be little lower on the list but the company, Namati is trying to put the law in the hands of people, using the idea of Barefoot Lawyers. Ok, everyone settle down, these aren’t actual barefooted lawyers. I’m pretty sure the courts have a ‘No Shirts, No Shoes, No Litigation’ policy. It’s the only law that is applicable to whether you’re rich or poor.
But this is one of the principles that Namati works off of; there are 2 different justice systems. One for the rich and one for the poor. Now this shouldn’t come as a surprise to most Americans because that’s what this country was built on. Then it was covered up by using a racism as a decoy. Poor Whites whose rights are being stomped on are attacking the poor minorities who are having the same rights stomped on!
As a side note, I’m so excited to find another Indian person in the states that doesn’t suck! With the spotlight on people like Bobby Jindal, Nikki Haley and Ajit Pai, who are actively ruining America and my soul, it’s nice to see more people that share progressive values like Kshama Sawant and Tulsi Gabbard. It warms the heart. Maybe now I’ll stop getting compared to Aziz Ansari…
Anyway, Namati uses community paralegals or barefoot lawyers to help people navigate the world of the law and understand it. This means that they break it down into simple terms and in a lot of cases into a non English language. Yes, there are other languages in the world. Yes, they’re just as grammatically fucked up. No I will not teach you how to curse in my language.
These lawyers go into communities where large corporations or entities are taking advantage of people and teach people the existence of certain laws and how to use administrative tools as a means to win. And this is huge because in a lot of countries injustice is the norm. So this gives these people a beacon of hope. And really this should be utilized more in America since it’s a whole country run by corporations.
This grassroots effort teaches people how to utilize health, environmental, citizenship and land laws. This has helped communities where farmers were given little no money from a corporation that took their land, or communities that didn’t know how to battle health insurance companies or communities whose land, air and water was being poisoned by the factories at their doorsteps.
Now Namati doesn’t win all it’s cases but they will do their best to help these people get the justice they deserve. As Vivek Maru puts it, in these sort of cases hope and despair are neck and neck. And this is a huge issue considering the UN estimates about 4 billion people don’t have access to basic justice! That’s half the world! So that means half the world is being oppressed by the 1% elites and the other 49% is doing their dirty work, because well the Elites haven’t seen dirt since the early 1800s. They do want to own dirt though.
This concept of basic justice comes from the idea of doing what’s logical, ethical and is going to keep us alive as a species. It should be the way the legal system works. If we all just get to a point where we realized that exploiting each other for profits, poisoning not just our planet but each other just to hoard wealth was immoral and counterproductive to basic survival, we wouldn’t need laws. These would “fuckin’ duh” moments! Redemption would be easier. BUT since that’s not the case we need programs like this in place to reinforce the idea that laws were written to hold up ethical and logical decisions not profit margins.
The work of Paralegals is overlooked most of the time, but it’s probably the most crucial. We’re surrounded by a world that looks at we the people as guilty before proven innocence. But the paralegals using grassroots efforts are working together with us to help understand a system that wasn’t written for us. It’s helping us fight back and put this world back into the hands of the people that built it rather than those that exploited it. I feel like Ice T would be happy to take a break from the courtroom dramas and let Vivek Maru solve a few cases for the sake real Law & Order.
We have delved into what it takes to make Prison a better place that is focused on rehabilitation, reforming the laws and re-humanizing inmates. But that’s only half the issue in this case. Look if we make the conditions of prisons better and don’t treat actual citizens with some respect or kindness in the eyes of law, then we are starting the cycle all over again! So the question is can we reform the officers of Law?
So before we dive into this we have to ask if cops even can be reformed? Can be big beefy dudes who seem to be looking for all the wrong reasons to get into Wild Wild West style shootout to gain a badge of honor and coolness points … be reformed to protect and serve? Well the example to look at here Captain Ray Lewis.
But you can counter this argument very easily with something that Jeff Sessions recently said about pulling away from investigating police departments in regards to perjury. Sessions claims that we shouldn’t condemn law enforcement because of the actions of a few rotten apples. Great, can law enforcement make that distinction with citizens that they should be protecting.
At current citizens and law enforcement are fed that the narrative that there is only bad apples. And I’m sure there are some more Captain Ray Lewis’ in the force but usually they are pushed out. Captain Lewis himself got threats by the Philly Commissioner’s office that they’ll take any actions necessary to stop him. Sounds like someone is getting desperate their dirty little secrets will take away position of power.
Look, people would be a lot quieter if it was the actions of a few bad apples. But the rot is spreading. And apparently it has spread so deep that it’s decomposing the Department of Justice. Besides we should be looking at how bad the rot is. It’s the quality of the rot and not the quantity. Eating one bad apple can make people distrust all apple trees forever. Unless of course the apple tree can help decrease the rotting.
But this is the psychology of cops that isn’t addressed by the system they serve. The way the cops look at the world is that it’s a war for law and order. According to NYU Law Professor, Irving Younger, the cops are fighting a war on 2 fronts. Crime on the streets and the Liberal Rule of Law. So to them reforming & rehabilitating prisoners is putting crime back in streets, because that’s how the system they are protecting has educated them.
So if the cops are looking at the citizens as their enemy in a war and they’re hardened by job of seeing the worst society has to offer, why not help cops see some light in society. A system that is willing to drown it’s own protectors in PTSD to drive chaos on the streets under the guise of law and order has failed everyone. Not just we the people and the cops, it’s failed itself too. Man the system is the epitome of self hate. Someone should get the system some counseling.
But this idea that cops would need mandatory mental health counseling based on the job description itself is looked down on. According to the President of the Fraternal Order of Police, they suggest a shot and beer. What else would expect an organization that considers itself a frat house of cops. “Feeling bad about the shooting an innocent black guy? Pussy! Get a keg stand in to drown those feelings!”
So now we’re going to have a bunch of drunk cops looking at their enemies, aka us, with beer goggles! As they’re arresting us for crimes that don’t deserve a prison sentence they’re going ask us out on a date too. Awesome. This is going to make the #MeToo movement’s head explode.
Captain Ray Lewis also addresses the fact that the test they have to take at the academy is to blame. In a 500 question test, if they score too high on empathy and compassion they get rejected. So there’s no goofy, fun, sound effect loving cops like in the film Police Academy. Just a bunch of dudes who eating testosterone for breakfast instead the donuts that they stereotypically should be.
The theory is that they won’t be able to handle the intensity of the jobs because feelings will prevent you from arresting people and corporations won’t get to whatever they want! It’s strange that Nurses see more gore and blood and semen than cops do and we want them to be compassionate and empathetic.
Why not the cops? Unless it is a racially motivated agenda…I mean when was the last time you heard of a nurse kill someone in the waiting room because they were black? No seriously, I’m asking. If there is a story I’d like to know.
And before everyone freaks out claims I’m calling all cops racists, I’m not. I’m calling the system they’re hired to protect racist. I think we all know that in the recent years there’s been an increase of police brutality videos of cops shooting innocent people. A lot of them are black. But it’s not to say, white people, Natives, Mexicans all don’t get shot by the cops.
But the reason why it’s a big deal is because there are less black people and Mexicans than White People in America. And there’s definitely less Native Americans in America than white people…that’s an insane sentence, but history makes this factual. So it’s a statistics game. And if we encouraged cops to actually get good grades on the Police testing we’d have less of an issue with math and brutality.
With all these police shootings, the minority communities are becoming endangered species in America. And if this continues, then color of skin be damned, we’re all going to be endangered species. Then the only ones that’ll be left are the elites who are half human and half dollar bill. They can only eat the concept of exploitation to keep themselves nourished.
And because of all this, trust is cops is falling by the public day in and day out. There’s a lot of accounts of cops lying on the stand. NYC Officer Pedro Serrano told the New York Times that in the force it’s called ‘testilying’. Which is also what college boys call it when someone lies about how big their balls are. You don’t know want to how they find out. That shit grosses out Nurses!
But this perjury is a result of the encouraged PTSD that cops have go through when they look at citizens as the enemy and are at constant war the people. The cops that are practicing perjury are never outgrew the ‘crying wolf’ phase of their life. Eventually we’re going to stop believing you…in fact a lot of us have. Including the wolf community who is really pissed that cops have been culturally appropriating them. REAL cultural appropriation is just the Manifest Destiny of Ideas.
And this is a real bummer for Lawyers! I mean they were used to being called liars and they had that on lockdown! I mean what are they going to with a hundred thousand T-Shirts that say ‘Lyin For Laws!’ with a photo of Lady Justice snoozing on a futon! They can’t give it to third world countries! These aren’t Super Bowl T-Shirts!
So aside from the idea of mandated counseling which would take the stigma away from receiving help there are other more radical ideas of reforming the police. The NEAR Act would change the way we look at policing and violence on all levels. The Neighborhood Engagement Achieves Results Act will put the demands of policing within the communities themselves instead of the Cops that currently need to rebuild some trust.
A major change that makes the NEAR as a positive way to look at community policing as an option is the fact violence is a public health issue. They use the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement to help folks that might be at risk. The Community Crime Prevention Team finds links to behavioral and mental health concerns to address the issue appropriately.
In the hands of the community folks can be protected and served. Now most of us would say that cops are supposed part of the community. And even if that was true, they’re not anymore. The cops that stationed in a neighborhood aren’t from there, so they don’t know the politics or nuances of those streets. To them it’s all strangers that at risk of of falling prey to the Liberal laws, which is a gateway to larger crimes!
The NEAR Act looks at the source of police violence as the police themselves and instead of relying on the system to fix their mistakes they taking it upon themselves to look after each other. This asks the question whether we need the Police at all?
I would say in the form it’s in now, no. I mean at this point it’s like asking if you want McDonald’s to keep putting Ammonia in your hamburger! Real thing. But the NEAR Act changes what policing is, like how McDonald’s has officially changed what a burger and the meaning of food is. The NEAR Act is a true reform to the idea of policing that works from the outside to maybe change the internals of this broken system. While McDonalds is going to continue to break you down from the inside out. And realistically who know their communities better than those are living in it.
The NEAR Act would also address the idea that we can probably stop crime. Not predict it but look at the causes of it and try to fix those problems. Stresses from poverty, pressures from hyper-gendered situations, the importance of basic needs & income can all be addressed as a group. Now there will also be Armed Community Self Defense groups to protect the people from the 3-4,000 bigoted right wing militias that the politicians have supported, because we haven’t stopped all the crime yet.
If we look at the police as a force that is in place by the elites, suffering from PTSD, we can let them take a break to recover. Communities can make better decisions for themselves instead of out of touch rich people that are not vested in our communities and our people. These reforms are more work on our part but it’s worth it and we can do it, as long as we help each other instead being convinced that we have to be at war amongst each other.
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!