Should Criminals Convicted of non Violent Crimes Face Jail Terms – No

Criminals and Crime in Our Justice System are Weights Thrown on Scales Untarred

Conviction requires a balancing system, or scales so to speak.Criminals we convict on non-violent crimes should not be put in jail pending system restoration. Leading sociologists record that words “criminals” and “jails” are social constructs. In other words what is a crime on one part of town may not be a crime on the other. And, of course, there are exceptions where society or societies can come to the same agreement to label the same action, “crime” and the perpetrator, “criminal”. But regardless of the situation, the same actions and the doers of those actions are balanced on some type of a scale we call Justice. This discussion is focused on the accessibility of a tarred scale for this measurement.

To start, not everyone who breaks the law is labelled “criminal”. Not everyone who fits the label “criminal” makes it to jail. The result is a system of justice in shambles!  Who do we convict? Wnen? Why? Let’s use two references to illustrate. We begin with a reference from In this article we read among other things about a breastfeeding baby isolated from her mother so that her mother can go to jail. The second illustration is in Sister Helen Prejean’s “Dead Man Walking”, which shows that life in jail and prison has little to do with justice. These two examples should put us in deep thought as to “who” justice is.

In the first reference Justice appears to be someone who wants to see the mother taken away from the baby for the benefit of…what? In the first instance Justice seems to be someone who realizes that we are incompetent, or indigent, or otherwise lacking means to access the resources to rescue us from the wrath of Justice and decides to send us deeper in System with a promise for the death row. In both cases, Justice does not seem to be in our favour. Yet if it is, we have no worries because jail is not for us!

This is not to say that criminals do not exist. It is only to say that the scales we use to decide who these criminals are, are out of balance and it should be hard to take any action on those we call criminals before we level things out.