Archive for the 'incarceration' Category

06
May
14

looking for an escape

looking for an escape050514The death penalty.

Not that we should need a reminder to re-evaluate the death penalty, but the “botched” lethal injection in Oklahoma is a not so subtle reminder that this whole death thing is not humane.  In fact, it should make us question our whole system of incarceration.

Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to sit in on a seminar with a man who takes theatre into prisons.  It was very compelling and inspiring to hear how so many people were touched by the works of Shakespeare in very personal ways that transformed their lives.  What stood out to me most though was the fact that he learned a whole new language from his work at the prisons.  One word he refused to use was “rehabilitate.”  He explained that human beings do not need rehabilitating to be human.  What he discovered was that most of the men in jail were never habilitated in the first place which is why they were where they were.  Instead, he preferred using the word habilitate for what he was helping to do for others in need.

This perspective brings a whole new light to our way of approaching those who break the law.  We cannot view them as merely projects that need fixing.  The fact that there are so many incarcerated reflects issues in the society which need attention.  But instead of overhauling the system, we want to do what has been deemed as easier:  giving an injection.  How this can be easier or what more people are willing to do than helping protect the lives of their fellow man is beyond me.

Don’t we all need to be habilitated?  Aren’t we all suffering from the social ills which influence our lives every day?  Some more than others may be exposed to these ills and respond in the only way they know how in order to survive or escape.  Perhaps the death penalty is their ultimate escape from society rather than the other way around.

For more information see:

Botched Oklahoma Execution Prompts Questions About Lethal Injection

 

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