Just recently read about a man named Derrick Hamilton in The New Yorker. This man was wrongfully convicted of murder in 1983, at the age of 18 years old, and he was sentenced to 32 years to life in prison. He spent half of his life in prison for something he didn’t even do… Now, the details of this article are not what I’m here to talk about. This article merely sparked my need to write about this terrible issue I’ve been seeing. An issue so common place that there are not many people who even really notice it’s a problem… I’ve come here to talk about how our mentality towards crime and morality goes against human nature and development. I’m here to talk about how judging people for their actions gets us nowhere and is actually holding us back as a species.
I have become so overwhelmed by how dysfunctional our judicial system is. Even more disturbed that most of our world thinks that judging people for their actions even makes sense. Whomever came up with this sentiment is truly clueless to human nature. When you label someone because of something they did, they tend to stay within the boundaries of the label. Almost becoming the thing they did. Never to escape an idea someone else has for them. Holding them back mentally, they will not progress or change. Once held back, healthy human development is stunted and things that should develop get set back due to unnecessary stimuli caused by said labeling.
Let me give you an example of how this is a true thing in human development. I learned of a very interesting study done on a group of children. The goal was to find out if teachers labeling their students effected how well they did. (Labeling Effects)
In this study average level children who were labelled as ‘Gifted’ got better scores than those who were labelled ‘Slow Learners’. I realize this study is a little different but the effects in human development are the same. The stimuli and interaction these students received was believed to be what was right for their stage of development.
When you put a label on another human being it tends to dictate how others will view and treat them, and how well they view themselves.
We all know we tend to react to how we are treated by others…
Putting a troubled and ignorant human being into a huge prison system filled with a bunch of troubled and ignorant human beings is not the way to change the heart and mind of a ‘criminal’. Continuing to learn and grow with traumatized peers.. You are not changing anything… You are helping to create the criminal.
But, we’re not actually trying to change anything are we? We just want punishment for the wrong doing… but to what end??
“There is no doubt that labeling can have a tremendous effect on the way a person is perceived and treated by others.”
… and themselves.
So if we’re not supposed to judge and label people for their actions, what are we supposed to do? How do healthily and logically handle people who commit criminal acts?
How about get to the route of the actions? How about get to the cause of the problem and not just punish the outcome.
The heart of punishment is fear. People do not thrive in fear. Fear is mentally debilitating and traumatizing. Fear of punishment does not stop crime…
Let’s look at what starts crime so maybe we can address it in the proper manner…
The reason people do things that could potentially put them in prison is because they are lacking something important in their lives. Simple as that.. Whether it be finances, love, ideas, or just positive encouragement and direction. This is what trauma is. People grow up without having these things. This lacking as a young human develops into stress and depression or neurosis as an adult. Causing us to do things that a healthy adapted human being would not do.
Everyone comes from different circumstances so everyone requires different things to feel comfortable. Meaning, everyone comes from different childhood trauma and depending on the type/s of trauma, we require different stimuli to heal and feel comfortable. We do not get to choose the circumstances we are born into. We do not get to choose the trauma. Nor do we get to decide whether or not we will be able to develop the ability to understand what this trauma has done to or for us as adults. Meaning we can’t just decide to learn how to cope, we are taught how at young ages. Without the ability to cope with childhood trauma we become very uncomfortable adults and young adults.
So, what the belief of ‘Judging people for the actions’ shows me is, it doesn’t seem as though we humans are realizing that trauma causes us to act out… and acting out can put you in prison…
So we’re actually punishing people for being traumatized.. How does that make any sense??
This is like watching someone cut themselves and then pouring salt in the wound and letting them continue…
Our judicial system is punishing people for being injured and uncomfortable..
This is not ‘help’.
Punishing a criminal creates the criminal. If we really want to rehabilitate criminals they need your HELP not your judgement. THIS TRAUMA NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED. The reasons why people are driven to do what they’re doing needs to be talked about. Animals act out under stress. Most times people who have done something ‘wrong’ merely need a way out. Some redirection.
The way humans develop does not change much from childhood. As we grow we require age and stage appropriate stimuli to continue healthy brain function and development. If the toddler does not receive new stimuli and continues to have infantile interaction there will be set backs. If the five year old still has only toddler stimuli to interact with there will be mental aggravation and set backs. Adult humans are very similar. Our stimuli directly effects our output….
And currently, we have court rooms run by criminals who are moralizing the acts of innocent and traumatized humans… Purposely putting an innocent man in jail for a crime he did not commit is a criminal act. The man who put Derrick Hamilton (and other innocent men) behind bars , Louis Scarcella, is comfortably retired and getting a pension. We have greedy, educated, criminals running the show. A show that creates more poverty, fear, and violence than it stops. A show that creates street criminals just so it can continue being.. While we sit at home and watch the next reality TV show to see who else we can judge from the comfort of our own homes.. This all aids in the judgement mentality our society holds. Creating distance between us when what we need is unity.
Well, What do I think a possible solution for all this could be? Thanks for asking! 😉
In the state of things, what I propose seems pretty far out there, but I think our government is the farthest thing out there anyhow.. So, I propose ‘Judges’ actually CARE about the individuals life that they’re indeed judging. I propose we ask people why they have done such a heinous crime so we can get to the bottom of it and stop it from happening again. And if they don’t know why (which most don’t) we help them figure it out with concern and affection.. Maybe they need a job they like, maybe they need to be removed from a toxic home life and be placed around people who can appreciate them, maybe they need just ONE person to show they care. Maybe they need a shit ton of therapy. These are things that are possible. These are things that will help lower our prison population and actually HELP people to get what they need, in turn REHABILITATING a so called criminal.
Also, our prison systems should be more positivity oriented. If you want a criminal to change you should probably CHANGE their stimuli. Prison systems should require you to undergo therapy and counseling. Classes on love and meditation. Art and self expression. Prison systems should function more like a quality daycare… oh, but god forbid we actually care about wounded humans who have done something wrong, in a money hungry society that leaves it’s people behind… leaves its children behind.
Judging a person based upon a violent or questionable act is a crime. It is both shameful and wrong. Humans grow and change depending on their surroundings. Put a criminal in prison system and you are most likely not changing their stimuli. Meaning they will keep a criminal mentality.
In order to change a humans behavior they will require a different environment…
What’s Einstein’s definition of insanity again? … ‘Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.’ …? What we’re doing isn’t working.
If you teach a human through true care and concern you will more than likely end up with an adult filled with care and concern for others. Teach one through harsh discipline, punishment, and conditional love and you will get either an overly sensitive, traumatized, wounded adult who will overcompensate when raising their own young, or you’ll get a chip off the old block. Another tough skinned, traumatized, no nonsense, judgmental, yet insecure and uncomfortable adult…
People develop through their circumstances and with how we’re teaching people to view the world we’re creating terrible circumstances for people and for children. Our adults are wounded. Lacking. Stressed and stretched thin. How do we raise mentally healthy children when we create such stressful atmospheres for adults and parents?
. . .
People need to be able to be less fearful of one another. We need to be raised up through love, redirection, and positive encouragement. Not discipline and punishment. Discipline and punishment lead to fear, discomfort, and rebellion, not ‘respect’. When a human is raised through love and respect, they’re more likely to develop into well adjusted, communicative adults. Which means we need to give humans the time and affection needed for proper emotional growth, and providing them with healthy guidance and redirection when they’ve done something unsafe.
We are born so incapable, and like many animals born so incapable we require constant nurture and support. In a society so fast paced, entertainment and punishment focused, we are leaving our children behind. We have created the perfect atmosphere for raising dysfunctional human beings. And IT’S NOT OUR FAULT. We are all so traumatized. We have no need to feel guilty about the way things have been going. All we need to do is what needs to be done to change it.
Nurture the love and light that shines so brightly, and is so deeply rooted in the hearts of our young ones. Help that to be what blossoms. Make it something they know and are raised in, so they don’t long and search in fear for it the rest of their lives.
When humans are well adjusted and in tune with the love we all bear, we share it. We know that it is the most important thing. Nurture your children and love your neighbor. Teach your children to love their neighbor. Listen! No matter how uncomfortable the information may make you!
It’s an obligation as a human to help those around you to the extent you are personally capable. This is how we further our evolution. We are an inter-dependent species, and there is nothing wrong with that. Matter o’ fact it’s quite beautiful.. even more so when we can actually make that function…
Two things that need drastic change in order to save this country… How we deal with ‘Criminals’ and how we raise our children… so they don’t turn into ‘criminals’.
We’re trying to stop people from doing things wrong with FEAR. This is counterproductive and combats human development! Love keeps people from doing things wrong people. LOVE. When people are lacking love they can have a hard time giving, receiving, and/or understanding it. When a small child does something wrong or unsafe because they don’t understand, they are only just learning that it is wrong or unsafe. So we need to make sure to teach them through love and understanding so as not to create unnecessary fear. A child should not be punished for doing something they don’t understand. Neither should an adult. When a person is pushed to limits where they’re doing something ‘wrong’ they truly don’t understand the extent of what they’re doing. Even though it may seem so. The trauma they have endured has brought them to a place, not of love, but of stress and struggle. A place of fight or flight. Surviving in fear of failure.
Fear is debilitating where as love is so full of possibilities.
Why is this so hard to understand?
If we want things to change we need to realize that we the people make the change. It doesn’t matter who our president is. It’s about a shift in mentality.
Raise awareness for love. Raise awareness for understanding. Raise awareness for compassion.
Come together before we let traumatized adults tear it all apart…
Raise awareness for the mental health epidemic. Raise awareness for trauma, and all it’s shapes and sizes.
Be Love. Be Kindness.
The rest will flow. ❤
Here is a link to The New Yorker article about Derrick Hamilton if you’re interested (Derrick Hamilton Jailhouse Lawyer)
We have a lot of work to do, but let’s not WORRY about it and just DO what needs to be done.