I am done sanitizing the house to requirements. I have removed many of those external trappings that told a story and revealed the personality of the man who resides here. Still, they are only objects that we cling to and then realize are worthless when held alongside the valuables of family and friends and love and truth.
My son lives beneath the burden of lies that hide the truth. When people talked about their pain at the sentencing, they should look to the lies. They are a burden, destructive to the soul and happiness.
I write about parole because my son falls under its purview. I continue to believe in his innocence and write about those beliefs. But whether guilty or innocent (as many others may be who have also been wrongly convicted or taken plea agreements for their own personal reasons), both will fall under the policies and be affected by them.
Our criminal justice system may use the word rehabilitation as the model for changing behavior, but it seems that many of its practices are instead isolating and crippling to that goal. It becomes difficult and maybe impossible for some to become once again, or perhaps for the first time, a valuable member of society. Some practices may actually sever connections to the people whose connections the system should want to strengthen, in particular family and children. Children must be protected but not forgotten. There is simply no one-size-fits-all policy.
As time goes on, I hope to gain a clearer picture of a system that seems daunting and too often unsuccessful. Perhaps my views will even change. I add here that there are many who have been convicted and are not safe to be in our society. Not everyone can be or wants to be rehabilitated.
I find an analogy here to the “zero tolerance” policy in our schools that many believe has created or at least contributed to the “school-to-prison pipeline”. We wanted to make our schools safer by expelling students for infractions of the rules. Now it seems that many of those who were expelled had more and more difficulties in school resulting in more expulsions until eventually they stopped returning to school and entered a more dangerous world with limited education and skill. We forgot the individual in the one-size-fits every infraction.
It is difficult to change policies in our institutions when we find that they are not achieving what we hope to accomplish or have unexpected repercussions.