I’m sad, not just because fellow Americans stormed the Capitol building and former President Donald Trump was impeached for a second time and acquitted by the Senate—again. I’m sad that the federal government executed eight people under the Trump administration, rushing the process before he left office.
Crime is never justified, nor should victims’/survivors’ pain be minimized. It just weighs on the incarcerated whether we will ever be accepted by society.
Most people before incarceration felt like outcasts or unloved, which breeds anger and self-contempt that leads to causing harm. Most incarcerated people are living through untreated trauma. At least 85% of incarcerated women have suffered some form of sexual violence and/or physical abuse.
Incarcerated men may underreport that they have been sexually abused, because of the toxic masculinity of prison, lack of a safe place to reveal their pain, and fear of putting themselves back in a position to be re-victimized in prison.
I have sat in many self-help groups where shame washes over all of the participants when trauma is being revealed.
But it takes decades and a whole lot of encouragement to tell other incarcerated men that you have been raped or molested. I know it’s not easy for women as well, always feeling vulnerable.
After 70 years, Lisa Montgomery became the first woman to be executed by the federal government.
According to news sources and her lawyers’ accounts, she was sex-trafficked by her mother, suffered severe mental health issues and experienced physical, emotional and sex abuse. She was convicted of killing a woman and stealing her baby.
There is so much pain and families hurt when it comes to crime. I’m not advocating for or against the death penalty; that is for society to decide its method of punishment. What I am saying is that crime doesn’t happen in a vacuum.
Incarcerated people have been robbed, assaulted and have suffered under the same various crimes we have committed (bullying and gang violence). Do we lose our status as victims once we offend? True: everyone who has been victimized doesn’t go on to harm others.
I think that needs to be studied too. However, the first time an incarcerated per-son speaks with a psychologist is when they are about to go in front of the parole board or one has to be enrolled in the mental health program.
With the support of each other, we were able to develop programs to help us get to the root of our traumas. The state has become supportive of rehabilitation pro-grams and has implemented some of its own. But society is ingraining itself in “cancel culture,” where any short-coming/mistake is amplified and one’s status as a human being is questioned. Violence is becoming normalized in handling problems. A Flor-ida school policeman body-slammed a high school teen-age girl — where her head hit the concrete and she appeared to lose consciousness.
Another Florida school resource cop, in a separate incident, Tasered a teenage girl—dropping her to the ground. Their alleged crimes: they were about to get into a fight with another student and wouldn’t calm down. The police have a lot of things to worry about and breaking up school fights shouldn’t be one of them.
What happens to the gym teacher or school principal? Most fights center around self-esteem issues and he says/she-says drama. Mix that with a possible hectic home life, not to mention when you are a teenager, you are still learning about your-self and life.
Where is the counseling, the mentorships? Why does everything have to be rooted in criminalization? Even a 9-year-old girl was pepper-sprayed by police for allegedly threatening to hurt herself and her mother. Trauma and mental health issues run deep in our society, but the poor are the ones that are held to a different standard and must be the ones to accept accountability for their actions. Those in privileged positions are afforded the narrative that their good outweighs their bad and forgiveness is the right thing to do.
Young Kyle Rittenhouse, alleged to have killed two people at a Black Lives Matters protest rally, was re-leased on bail and was filmed drinking in a bar and taking selfies with patrons flash-ing White power signs. Was his bail revoked? No; he was given a slap on the wrist and told to stay out of bars. Hum!
Dustin Higgs (a Black man) was one of the final people to be executed by the federal government. Higgs was convicted as an accomplice to three homicides. He was not the shooter. He died behind bars while Rittenhouse was told to stay out of bars. I’m not qualified to say what justice is.
Someone lost their life and others were hurt and traumatized because of my actions and participation. I am working to make amends for that. I just believe that our (the incarcerated) traumas and lessons can hold the key to healing our nation. Our country needs lessons in empathy, and not just in a crisis but as a way of life.
Our fellow citizens didn’t ransack the Capitol on a whim. They were fed lies rooted in their fears. Their theme: “We’re taking our country back!” From whom? Other Americans you do not agree with.
Trump gave pardons to his friends, those with money to pay and even those that went on a mass killing spree in Afghanistan. “Now they are considered forgiven – while we continue to work through our abandonment issues with a sometimes forgiving, lukewarm society with a lethal injection needle in our arms.