There've always been those who are discontent, like the saying goes: "you can't please them all". This time feels different. Some food for thought.
Maybe if we stop looking at the justice system as a broken thing, then we could finally re-create it. The system in fact is not broken, the workings and machinations are doing exactly as expected, due to our careful design. The problem isn’t the system, the times, the culture or the people but rather the future. The need for fixing a broken system has long past and the creation of a new system that both protects the welfare of the people and ensures safety, equality, and freedom of the individual is paramount.
Being the first point of contact for the system, the police must be re-evaluated. The largest issue facing this public force, in and of itself is access equality. No greater equality have we been able to achieve than that found through the equal availability of education and yet as a force, greater amounts of education are not prescribed to as necessary for the authority bestowed upon the police. An officer having such authority over another should at the beginning of their career be educated. The course of a 6-
month academy is inefficient. The admission into such training should be a matter of national uniformity; requiring either the completion of a 4-year accredited institutional bachelorette program or the honorable discharge allotted a serving member of the armed forces after a period of 4 years. Only after the equitable or educational hurdles have been achieved should the carful admittance into a training program of no less than a year be possible.
Another problem to be addressed is that of what our system in practice actually does to ensure public safety and personal justice; not only for the wronged but also the accused. If in fact we wish innocent until proven guilty to remain a tenant of our system, perhaps we should examine the idea that “holding” someone is in fact keeping another human being in a cage. Removing the cage would be greatly difficult if we continue the false conception that this cage is safe. The truth is that the cages we put people in, weather while awaiting arraignment, trial, or the term of sentence is not only greatly lacking in safety, and extremely costly, it also imbues greater criminality in the occupants. In order to better re-create the instance of caged humans, a greater look at the relationships of punishment to crime should be examined.
The ideology that numbers such as citations, arrests, fines, convictions, incarcerations and sentencing years are helpful to society in their counting and a credit to the counters of these dark metrics is backwards, archaic, and should be compared to bloodletting. The mindset itself has to change. Children steel for fun, but adults do so as a matter of survival. Drugs used recreationally are rarely the issue but the hunting of the activity costs us countless lives, incarcerations, and lifetime’s potential. The opiate crisis taught us addicts don’t need illicit channels and will find their way to addiction weather monitored or not. Despite misconceptions, things such as safety, legality, or danger often seem trivial and do more to attract users than to deter. Perhaps the worst of all illegal practices, is Human Trafficking; this barbarism isn’t the practice or acceptance of healthy well-adjusted individuals. In place of the war on drugs maybe we should begin a mission of mercy for those individuals which have been socially and economically left behind.
We have a heavy task if we are to continue as a society: create a system of law and justice that more closely resembles law and justice than it does laziness and self-interest. We need a system that endows all people with dignity and opportunity. We have to address our imperfections and biases and be acceptant of the human condition; we all make mistakes. We must remember there are innocent people in those cages too. We need a system to empower not just the greatest number but the greatest good. We must be emboldened enough not to simply serve justice but continually determine what justice is. We must create a system that is more humane, more tolerant, more human.