We at The Daily Eastern News believe in ethical criminal justice reform for the betterment of society and that prison is for rehabilitation.
In an unjust criminal justice system where people are wrongly imprisoned and become convicted for crimes at unproportionate rates based on circumstances in which they are born to, it is important we start criminal justice reform both inside and outside of the system.
Outside of the system we can do things to stop the cycle of those being institutionalized, because if you treat someone long enough like a monster, they may just act like one.
The novel, “Native Son,” is one depiction of this. In the novel it’s a story about a 20-year-old black youth living in poverty in a poor area on Chicago’s South Side in the 1930s. The character in the novel does awful things, but if he had just had hope of having a better life, wasn’t a product of his environment, and wasn’t constantly beaten down by society, he would have had a better chance of not committing those acts.
In the same way that treating someone like they can amount to no good because it can increase their likelihood of doing just that, those who have gone through the system should not be automatically villainized either for the reasons of rehabilitation.
We must support them to reduce their risk of relapsing back into criminal behavior and treating them how we want them to act, thus allowing them the opportunity to change.