There is a pervasive question lingering in the minds of many people today. It is the question of how we can reduce the ever increasing levels of crime and violence that plague our society. The usual answer to this question which is given by politicians and the media is that we have to be even tougher on crime. It is an answer that comes from a deeply held belief that fighting against crime even harder will eventually straighten this country out. This is an illusion.
You can not ever get what you want by pushing against what you do not want. We can argue as people all we want about the physical reality we live in but the truth remains the same, that what you see as physical, tangible manifestation is the direct result of energetic movement. And this energetic movement is controlled by thought. That means that if you are focused on crime, you will manifest crime. You can not focus on the problem and get a solution.
When a society such as ours does not understand this, we try to control others. We believe that it is not in our power what another person does or doesn't do to us. We believe very strongly in victim hood and so, we try to control others by creating laws. And we enforce those laws with harsh punishment for all those who disobey them. Laws are not control; they are merely the physical illusion of control. They do not work in the way that they are intended to work, and they run counter to the universal truth of freedom. They will fail and they do fail.
Punishment is fighting fire with fire. It is hoping that we can teach physical and mental health to a person by demonstrating the opposite to them. Punishing someone into wellness is a contradiction in terms and you can see it clearly demonstrated by the fact that the crime rate rises with the more jails we create. It is imperative that we facilitate a safe environment for all inmates and examine ways to better prepare them for their release back into society. The de-humanizing environment of jails and prisons does not help, it compounds these challenges.
Jails are not places of rehabilitation, they are terrifying, inhumane and miserable places for criminals that will luckily be seem as shameful to us in the future. They will in fact be seen in the same light as the infamous nineteenth-century "snake-pit" insane asylums are seen by us today. We are paying dearly in many ways for these institutions which do not work. And as afar as finances are concerned, they will fall of their own economic weight.
Inmates are traumatized, even more so due to the fact that non violent prisoners are put in the same holding facilities as violent prisoners where nonviolent offenders often do in fact learn a lesson… the lesson of how to be violent. And so, our justice system is not reforming criminals, it is creating them.
There is a mass societal failure at this point in time to see the truth of what creates a criminal. We hold victims in a piteous light and perpetrators in a condemned one, which is as inaccurate as it can get. On an energetic level, both the perpetrator and the victim have the identical vibration of powerlessness. It is hard for people to grasp the concept that anger and revenge is actually a much healthier state for a person to be in than the state of powerlessness and grief.
The difference between a victim and a perpetrator is that the perpetrator has tried to move closer to wellness by physically acting out in an attempt to no longer feel powerless by committing a crime. In effect, they project their feelings of powerless out onto their victim and in doing so, feel more empowered. It is a reaction rising from fear. They do not realize that any action taken from a place of fear (without first coming mentally into a space of freedom) will only produce physical results coherent with powerlessness, such as prison. The victim however, has merely stayed in the state of fear and powerlessness without acting out. But still, the victim and perpetrator share the exact same energetic vibration.
There are arguments across the board about whether criminal behavior might be hereditary (genetic) or learned. To those of us who understand the physical and non physical interplay of reality, it is very clear that your genetics are not the dictators of your life; they are the physical expression of a blueprint of thought. If thoughts change, the DNA itself changes. In other words, it is activated and de activated. It expresses itself and remains dormant based on thoughts.
So, even if we find a genetic similarity between criminals, the truth remains the same… Crime is the result of learned behavior and learned thought patterns. Thought patterns can be "picked" up before a child is even born. But more often than not, the criminal behavior we are seeing is the result of negative childhood experience.
Over the years, we have, as a society increasingly legitimized cruelty and callousness in response to the cruelty and callousness of criminals. In a number of prisons across the country we have reduced or eliminated the opportunity for inmates to earn college degrees, restricted family visits, and restricted access to books and magazines. And now there is even a growing public desire to remove televisions and exercise facilities from prisons. When we do not understand that punishment is not the way to rehabilitate someone, we want to make sure inmates are miserable every second of the day. We no longer want them to get healthy. In our ignorance and fear, we just want them to suffer.
It is this same vengeful attitude that leads our children toward violence. The peak age for violent crime in America is now eighteen, a number which is headed downward every year. Our children grow up with the impression that it's appropriate to be violent toward other people. They are not learning compassion or reconciliation, because we are not teaching it to them. It is time to do so.
Another important thing to recognize is that people are being put in jail for drug possession. More often than not, the drug dealers themselves aren't the ones taking up room in prisons; they are too wealthy and smart to get caught. Instead, they hire addicts, to take the risks that result in confinement. And it is not the drug dealers who create the drug problem anyway.
Among the poor, drugs are a problem resulting from alienation and isolation, of feeling unknown, unimportant, powerless, and hopeless. Among the affluent, they are an attempt to keep up with or escape from a lifestyle that has nothing to do with simple human joy, friendship or connection.
The problem that needs to be addressed is not the drugs themselves, it is the negative thought patterns that lead people to use them in the first place. These issues are ones that need to be addressed within ourselves, our families, and our communities. Not in jail. If we spent a fraction of the money that we would save by removing drug addicts from prison and put that money instead into rehabilitation centers and community revitalization programs, we'd begin to put drug dealers out of business in the only way that will ever last, by drying up their "market".
Our ideas of rehabilitation usually revolve around education, job skills, and counseling. But this approach guarantees that many prisoners leave prison as merely better educated and better skilled criminals. Until criminals are taught how to know and feel their connection and value to others, learn how to shift their realities with positive thought, and are taught exactly how to live within society, no true transformation will take place.
Often as a society, we hold true to the false belief that if we empower and treat a person who has committed a crime positively, that it is the same thing as condoning what they did. It is also believed that they will be more likely to go do it again. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
The only real way to rehabilitate negative behavior is by demonstrating positive behavior. Our justice systems will begin to work, (and may even go out of business) if those who commit crimes participate in programs which are oriented around positive focus such as cognitive behavioral therapy.
We must make our jails into institutions of service instead of punishment and make it the goal of jails to show those who have committed crimes, not only that they are loved but also to guide them towards a productive, healthy, empowered future. They need to receive the message that they are believed in and needed and valuable. If we empower them, they will no longer feel powerless to their impulses. They will have control over these impulses which they often feel they have no control of, which is in fact what leads to crime in the first place.
People who are happy do not commit crime. People who feel their own worth and value do not commit crime. People who feel free and empowered do not commit crime. Our deepest nature is good. It is this innate goodness which is unlearned. No child ever raises their hand in kindergarten and says "I want to be a criminal when I grow up".
We can not forget the potential that is inherent within every individual (a potential which never goes away) and hope to make any positive change in an individual at all. For decades our justice system has been run according to the tenets of retributive justice, a model based on exile and hatred. The time has come to focus our efforts instead on transformational justice. A type of justice that focuses on bringing a criminal back into society healthier, not closing him or her out of it.
Prisons can be turned into environments that maximize opportunities for criminals to become healthy and caring human beings. In the future of humanity, there will be no need for laws, for police and for justice systems. But at this point in time, when these laws and institutions still exist (and still make people who believe it is possible to be a victim feel safe) … Instead of doing away with them, it is time to change them.