Sunday, March 23, 2014

Demand Justice Reform

Our country's laws are no longer serving the people of the United States. Though they should be protecting us, they are instead imprisoning great numbers of our poor and absolving and releasing those who harm and oppress us. It is up to us to demand their swift reform.

First, we must demand the decriminalization of all non-violent acts. Violent acts include any use of deception, influence, or physical force which causes harm to the person or property of another, or forces them to engage in behavior which they did not consent to. The sorts of laws that prevent these things are designed to protect the American people and our beautiful continent from being abused and exploited. We have seen, not once, but many times, the worst perpetrators not only walk free, but continue to hold positions of power. This is clearly not a priority of our justice system.

By contrast, the majority of American citizens imprisoned today have caused little or no demonstrable harm to others or their property. The banning of victimless behaviors poses a real danger to the freedom and autonomy of US citizens, and we hold that it is the business of families and communities to negotiate and regulate these kinds of acts. Federal courts should be concerned with maintaining our freedoms, not reducing them.

Second, we must demand a complete overhaul of the way crime is treated in the courts. There is plenty of data to show that most crime stems from some combination of nature (social and psychological disorders) and/or environment (abuse, poverty, desperation), and the courts should be addressing this, rather than behaving as though anti-social behaviors can be curbed by throwing enough people into jail or executing enough of our citizens.

We must demand the dismantling of our current "eye for an eye" model of justice, to be replaced with a model that prioritizes the elimination of anti-social behaviors by preemptively meeting the needs of citizens (focusing on the preventative side of crime) and providing them with proper care (healing rather than beating people for their dysfunctional actions). 

We should call for the reformed court system to prioritize three goals: Determining what is true, not objectively (as we can never be entirely objective), but to each individual involved; doing all that is possible to repair all wrongs, not through punitive measures, but through healing ones; and collaborating to prevent future wrongs while maintaining, to the greatest degree possible, the freedom and dignity of all involved.

Pain comes from pain. It is not healed through more pain. When we eliminate someone's future for a mistake in their past, we refuse to acknowledge our own mistakes, our own ability to learn and better ourselves. It is vital to maintaining our own humanity, and ultimately serves our own interests, to see that we interrupt the cycle of harm-for-harm.

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