America’s prison system is just the smoke, to accomplish meaningful criminal-justice reform the underlying fires of educational, financial, and social inequalities must be addressed alongside any lasting and meaningful penal reform. Simply calling for laws to be slightly altered or pointing fingers at demographic imbalances are red herrings, fixing a system this broken requires first examining its very foundations and realizing that its built on an understanding of the human condition that’s over 200 years old.
It’s past time for a change.
The link between injustice and inequality can be traced back nearly 2,500 years to the birth of democracy itself, when the Athenians observed the inextricable link between the two. So long as American society is riven by underfunded and mismanaged schools, multigenerational wealth gaps promulgated by unrestrained corporate greed, and a divisive sense of tribalism that refuses to acknowledge that different mean me neither better nor worse – our prisons will continue to be populated primarily by the unfortunate and the unlucky. Not necessarily the truly dangerous, nor those who refuse to change.
Over the past 200 years modern science has illuminated an immense amount about the human condition, from the broad sociology of behavioral economics to neuroscience’s nearly imperceptible synaptic disturbances. This site will explore what those discoveries mean for the implementation of punishment and justice, both from an academic perspective and from my own perspective after 1,300 days of incarceration through the full gamut of correctional control: county jail, state prison, and local work release.
Thanks for reading.