Friday, July 23, 2010

Tough On Crime Doesn't Work

I unfortunately know way too much about the so called justice system. I also know way too much about politicians and their perceptions about crime. I have to wonder sometimes if any of them have ever even talked to a person in jail. How can they sit up there at the Capitol pretending to know what causes crime or the best way to deal with it when they don't even bother to do some research? No child dreams of going to prison one day. No child dreams of being addicted to drugs. No child dreams of robbing a house or joining a gang. Maybe we should be concentrating more on preventing crimes by finding out what really leads people to do bad things. Find the point in somebody's life when things went wrong.

I talked to a Senator last year who told me that murder has been a crime since the beginning of time and even though punishment for it can be death itself, people still commit murder. I agreed. Changing the punishment doesn't prevent the crime. People know that cooking meth and having drugs in their possession is a crime, yet they do it. Why? Could it be that they have no real coping skills for when life goes wrong and they turned to drugs as a way to numb themselves? Could it be that they were raised in that environment and don't know anything different? Could it be that the education system has failed them to the point where they graduated from high school not knowing how to read or write and selling drugs seems to be their only way to make money?

The commercials for the Governor's race are hitting the airwaves on a regular basis and they all promise to be "tough on crime". Why? That has been the approach for years and it is obviously NOT WORKING !!! Why not be smart about crime? Why not try out the old saying "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"?

Our society has been teaching kids for years that when things go bad you just need a drink, to pop a pill, or to indulge in something to make you feel better. The mental health field has moved away from teaching people how to work through their problems towards handing out prescriptions and continually blaming somebody's past for their actions. Why not teach coping skills and life skills so that people can work through their problems instead of ignoring them and just hoping that they go away? Changing brain chemistry is often not for the better and there are links to an increase in crime rates for people on psychotropic meds. Let's start looking towards the causes of crime and trying to prevent the problems before they happen.


  1. Great discussion on this topic today! Thanks for posting it.

  2. Somebody posted last night on that thread that maybe not everybody in society wants to prevent crime. Now that I think about it, I think that she is right. I think that some people really do want to keep others down and out, so that they can feel superior when they look down on "those people".

  3. Yep. A lot of people can't feel good about themselves unless they can feel like they are better than somebody else.

    I have the (depressing) suspicion that these are the same people who believe the answer is being "Tough on Crime."