Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Laying a New Foundation: Modernizing Our Correctional System by Ruth Utnage

Is it possible to lay a new foundation under an old frame? I think not. The frame and structure must be dismantled and set aside whilst a new foundation is set in place of the old one. If the structure can be dismantled in sections, the foundation can also be set in sections. One must be careful of the structure because a structure divided is weak, susceptible to damage and collapse.

Our prison system is much like this analogy, which I must thank author Isabel Wilkerson and her book "Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents" for inspiring such a clear analogy of systemic structuring and how we, as human beings, can conceptualize our complex reality in much simpler and more familiar terms. (I do not know who sent me this book, but THANK YOU!!!!)

The American phonological systems needs a new foundation to accommodate a newer rehabilitation structure. We cannot fit an updated frame on an old foundation. As we have come to know ourselves better as a species we know now what we did not 200 years ago. Rehabilitation is a complex topic, with many elements to consider and a foundation built on disgraced ideologies will not suffice for what we now clearly understand but still struggle with how to build. I suggest a new foundation, for a new structure, better suited to accomplish what our collective goals are.

We are an intelligent species, you will not convince me that the best we have come up with to manage wrongdoings is cages in concrete in chain link under razor wire, guarded by semiautomatic rifles and washed out trigger fingers still hanging onto the glory of times long gone. No, I will not accept such ignorance as our best.

We humans are a beautiful species not meant to caged or subdued. We tend to cage what we adore and apparently caging one another is no exception but the rule.

Let's change that.

With Love
Ruth A. Utnage



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