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Rethinking Criminal Justice


Rethinking Criminal Justice

Robert C. Koehler

“For over forty years our criminal justice system has over-relied on punishment, policing, incarceration and detention. This has ushered in an age of mass incarceration. This era is marked by sentencing policies that lead to racially disproportionate incarceration rates and a variety of ‘collateral consequences’ that have harmed our communities and schools. . . .”


The nation's "justice" components, along with rehab facilities, suffer from Puritan constipation that has dark roots in racism and classism. It is [past] time for a re-Enlightenment.

aah, the peace circle--that comes from a native american custom, the talking feather. that's a very helpful custom when a group of excited people all try to talk at once. bring out the talking feather and the person with the feather has her/his uninterrupted say and then passes the feather to another person in the circle. robert, i told my son about today's piece because i knew he'd like this topic. whenever he hears the term " our crime and justice system" todd says, "no! it's a crime and punishment system!" of course, we here know that racism plays a big role in creating abandoned, impoverished neighborhoods which result in this backassward "school to prison" paradigm. i sure hope these innovative, community base ideas can inspire other communities to follow suit. distant washington d.c.'s one-size-fits-all attempt to micromanage solutions in fact fit none! only the local community can respond to the individual needs of each person trapped in the system. also, i hope that peace circles can bring together blacks, whites, hispanics and a variety of ethnic groups because getting to know one another is the only way to end racism.

“Now is time for innovation in our approach to punishment and the moment is right for a philosophical shift in the way we think about what is truly just in the justice system.”

yes! yes! yes! in fact the time has been right from the founding of the u.s. with its institutionalized slavery and genocide. better late than never!


Restructuring our voting system beginning at the city level to acknowledge the right to vote of all citizens over 18 including those in prison or the age at which they can be tried in adult court together with a voting system that guarantees access to voting in a convenient fashion by the citizen, and in a transparent fashion, i.e., no voting machines, would remove an incentive for criminalizing by race.



The Fish Stinks from the Head back.