3 Ways The Logic Behind Crime Perpetuate A Cycle Of Violence

black metal fence during daytime
Zain Murdock
May 2, 2024

As crime bills incarcerate people in droves and new prison and Cop City constructions crop up around the country, it’s becoming more and more necessary to understand the logic behind these decisions. And more specifically, the logic behind “crime.” Here are three examples.

#1 Crime Undefined 

 Not all behaviors that hurt people are criminalized. But when the system labels something as a crime, it’s presented as the most significant harm we can commit and assigned a punishment. Other types of harm and harm-doers, like corporation heads stealing wages, politicians unhousing millions, and influential people committing sexual violence, continue a cycle of violence relatively unscathed.

#2 Collateral Consequences

 From lost voting rights to job discrimination, 44,000 legal punishments follow incarcerated people even beyond incarceration. Carceral logic tells us that “crime” for many can never be escaped — even the families of incarcerated people are expected to carry shame and dehumanization.

#3 Sidestepping Root Causes

 Crimes that are are “solved” with punishment. “You do the crime, you do the time.” Questioning this logic means considering root causes, not just simplistic causes and effects. Relentlessly asking “why” can lead us to more complex and systemic dynamics and issues.

Building a world without prisons means interrogating the logic behind them. And that includes reconsidering “crime” and its punishments and questioning if they are just and effective.

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