The Justice System that is. Matter of fact to call it broken would mean that it has improved. There are more aspects of the system that are broke, corrupt, immoral, abused, or outdated than there are parts of the engine itself. Another example of just how broken this system is, is the recent plea-deal agreement with a member of the DuPont family of Delaware over the rape of his own 3 year old daughter. As horrendous as this crime is, it is just another example that we would rather hide from truth and not face reality within our society and the superior belief held by the masses that since we are so affluently civilized and crime doesn’t effect us we do not have to worry about it or deal with it.
The reality is that having a proactive, well thought out, effective and forward looking justice system is to the benefit of not only the stability and security of the internal functions of society, but will also improve the health and strength of the society over time. These facts make the justice system second to the education system in importance for the survival and advancement of community. Some of you might argue that health care should be one of the top 2 systems for society, the fact is that the more successful your education and justice the better the standard of health is of individuals within society as a result of the improvement of the health of the whole society.
What does this mean? It means that we need to take the time to face the fact that both our education and justice systems are beyond broken. We need to recognize that both are vital to all members of society, not just those that are ‘handled’ by those systems. We need to not only say equal opportunities, we need to provide them. We need not only say equality for all, we need to insure it.
We have the tools to make the changes, what we need is the courage and determination. We need to remember that all children are different with different gifts and we do have the means, facilities and technology to meet the needs of ALL our children. Understanding and accepting and even appreciating the differences of each and every child is the basis for a successful education system and the first step in creating a fair justice system as well. We need to cease having just one measure for ‘smart’ and one measure for success. Not every child is an academic, not every child is an athlete, not every child is super-star and that is not only okay, it is what is needed. If every child was a doctor or lawyer, then they might be rich but they would not have houses or cars or food or clothes or offices or any of those ‘finer things’ that parents seem to think measure success of their parenting styles.
Our education and justice systems began to fall apart as we changed our values from character and honor and being the best that you can be to how big a house can you mortgage, how fancy a car can you lease, how many ‘toys’ can you charge. We no longer judge people by their actions but by the things they have. The result is that our selves and society are hollow and we are more unhappy, less mentally stable and less fulfilled.
We have become so morally bankrupt that we think privatizing prisons is an acceptable thing. That is the worst thing.
But we need to completely change our punishment and rehabilitation mentality. Prisoners should not be separated from their minor children, especially if they are single parents, unless their crime was committed against one of their children. Part of the ‘punishment and rehabilitation’ should include as mandatory the parent’s involvement and accountability to their child and the life of that child. While I think Amnesty International and other watch dog groups have their place, I think they need to re-think what is humane and what isn’t. Prisoners doing ‘hard labor’ in fair and safe conditions is not in and of itself inhumane. Having prisoners clean their own facilities and grow their own food and participate in daily living activities is not inhumane either. Prisoners do not need to spend their days being idle watching trash TV, that is inhumane and in no way improves their sense of self-worth or allows them the self-respect and sense of pride that comes from being a contributing member of a group. It is these changes in the internal self views of prisoners that will increase their chance of legitimate success after incarceration.
These suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg of changes that need to be made. It would take at least a couple volumes of well thought out and effectively expressed detailed concepts rebuilding both the education and justice systems from the ground up to include all the needed changes and redefined measures of success. Hopefully, this tip of the iceberg will start the thinking and dialogue needed to initiate the change. Change that will benefit EVERYONE!