Dehumanization Is Not The Answer…
This is a picture of a GROUP THERAPY session at California’s San Quentin Prison. Personally, all I can see is an animalistic inkling.
This is how some of our men and women incarcerated live; for many years also. They go from one cage to another. Residing in these tiny cages 23 hours a day. They are put in there for disciplinary reasons, SAFETY concerns and/or investigative reasons, but…
After just a couple of hours, psychological warfare sets in.
There’s a line here. Has to be! One etched in dignity. Like Brene’ Brown said, Dehumanizing others crosses that line. And it still sadly exists today, even though it obviously never worked to rehabilitate, make communities that are safer, and/or decrease recidivism rates and crime with over 2.2 million people incarcerated in the U.S.
It’s a process of stripping all mental capacities which deprives them of human qualities and makes them appear less human, creating animalistic qualities full of rage, if you ask me. There’s nothing rehabilitative and transforming in this inhumane treatment.
They do need to serve their time for their crime; however, but in this setting/time out that can last years, it just creates more rage and violence. Imagine years like this!!!
Their lives need redemption and it’s kind of hard to identify and change old behavioral problems due to their own childhood traumas and deep wounds in this environment. This just reinforces their hostile triggers and reactions that they never learned to deal with because of generational dysfunction and/or systemic trauma with nobody taking the time to invest into their lives and teach them the tools necessary for success.
This is not an acceptable form of rehabilitation, this is creating more problems and more violence. They need skills and environments conducive to healing and wholeness that a sterile cage cannot deliver.
If you stuck me inside one of those cages for more than a couple hours, even with all my favorite books, I’d become crazy and hostile too, much less for years. Being provoked doesn’t take much when you’re stuck in a cage being treated like an animal and mocked with no one to speak with/to or engage in conversation with.
The ground turns into some pretty scary hallucinations, I’m sure.
And if you’re not coached/led to some form of self-reflection and community, you’re never going to understand how to exist in community as a productive member of society that you struggled with in the first place due to your poor choices and decisions that contributed to your incarceration. Therefore, you will continue to exist through this revolving door of repeated criminal conduct and state prison with many more people suffering due to being unhealed and this dysfunctional behavior.
Hurt People Hurt Others, But Healed People Heal!
It’s sad! A travesty. I get all sides being a survivor of violent crimes myself, being a chaplain, marrying once into law enforcement/corrections, along with a son who did time, but this is inhumane and it’s not solving anything except for throwing the keys away of residents whose lives do matter, have value and can be redeemed and transformed.
That’s the power of our beautiful Jesus, He’s in the business of transforming lives, and I’ve been honored to witness it! That’s what prisons and/or healing centers are supposed to deliver, transformed lives. Sadly, the deep hurts that led the men and women to prison in the first place are RARELY dealt with. In fact, we release them back into society in worse shape than when they entered state prison. That’s scary and not building safer communities. And now you can see why.
This is just an easy way to pocket the money of taxpayers that should be going to programs that actually change lives, restore and bring healing to all affected by crime, especially the victims.
And the scary and sad thing about this is, our residents have been suffering in silence locked up now for over a year without programming and/or visitation from loved ones due to COVID and we wonder why they’re so full of anxiety, rage and suicidal ideation right now. We have our work cut out for us once we get back inside our state prisons to facilitate programming.
Talk about a humanitarian crisis!
That’s the end of that honest narrative in Tammy Tangent fashion. Guess I needed to purge my own frustrations in what others are trying to cover over. Amazing what God exposes at times.
Until next time…