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The revolving door of our prison system

There are two forms of confinement: physical and emotional. While inmates are incarcerated for crimes they committed, many of us live in emotional prisons. Most of us are unaware of our confinement. Therefore, we have no idea how to free ourselves.

The global prison population consists of former and existing victims of childhood toxic environments. A while back, I ran into a couple of videos of a Christian singer performing at male and female prisons. Some inmates attending might have been there without an intention to connect with God, whereas others hoped to. The picture begins to take shape as they capture the audience on the stands. We cannot deny that they are deprived of freedom. Tall walls, endless fences topped with barbed wire, and armed guards reinforce this notion. The diverse races, ages, apparent physical strengths, type of crimes committed, and length of confinement as a form of retribution for their crimes do not matter. What they have in common is that they are no more than a number in an overcrowded and overwhelmed system attempting to rehabilitate them.

I support the theory that any act of violence or violation of our God-given right to live in peace is unacceptable, and we should enforce the law to ensure we all pay our debt for all crimes committed.

Ideally, the process would be as follows. When we make mistakes, we assume responsibility for our actions, pay our debt, and learn our lesson. However, the majority of those incarcerated are and will become repeat offenders. We have overlooked the link between the pandemic-sized social crisis we face and the growing population in our prison system to its place of origin, which is our homes. In most cases, the problem is the unhealthy surroundings we enter when we are born, which we cannot choose or control. It is a universally accepted fact that children grow up to become adults. When children go through trauma, pain, and suffering while growing up in unsafe and less-than-desirable conditions, they often develop feelings of worthlessness—leading to a buildup of negative emotions over time. There are many formulas with several levels and intensities of dysfunction, ranging from neglect to physical and sexual abuse, among many others. This toxic cocktail will undoubtedly produce less than favorable results. Simply incarcerating those responsible for crimes committed against humanity will never end violence or alleviate the pain anyone suffers because of said crimes. We must be proactive, shift the focus, and recognize that the problem begins at home. Most of us will not learn until later in life how much our childhood environment influences who we become. At least, this is true for me

What I saw in that video were men and women with an unknown story of what they endured in their childhood environment— that led to their physical imprisonment.

I want to be clear and straightforward. I am not condoning any crime but rather stating the facts. We are not born with any titles or labels, whether positive or negative. We obtain them from broken and toxic environments within our homes. Therefore, we are not exempt from any adverse experiences or negative reactions. Our stories contain moments we rarely share, primarily because of fear and shame. If we fail to recognize, address, and heal our past pain and trauma, it may be a matter of time before we also end up physically incarcerated. There is not much difference between the population in the prisons and all of us who live outside of those walls and steel doors because many of us are trapped in emotional prisons. It is our punishment for not recognizing and being proactive in our healing. The current rehabilitation approach has failed, as evidenced by the revolving door of the prison system. Placing criminals behind bars and hoping they learn a lesson by losing their freedom is not the answer. Because when the inmates serve their sentence and reenter society, we receive the same or worse version of the person we initially incarcerated. We must adopt and commit to urgently and diligently implementing a new approach to prevent this pattern. The only solution is to, first and foremost, acknowledge our childhood trauma. Second, we must assist all human beings, regardless of their criminal history, with an opportunity to address all the areas they need to heal. Interestingly, the concert videos captured the pain, tears, remorse, and a noticeable desire to receive forgiveness and salvation. None of us has a story free from mistakes and sin. I know mine has its share of both, not to mention the lengthy list of loved ones hurt by my choices and behavior. Thankfully, once I accepted responsibility for my actions, God rescued me. He opened the doors of the emotional prison that had been my dwelling place for too long. Only our omnipresent God knows and understands all we have endured. He wants to remind us that we are redeemed, saved by grace, worthy of forgiveness, and loved unconditionally. Even though a prisoner may never walk free, God will deliver them from their emotional prison. Once we heal, we understand that the only thing that matters is that we are who the Almighty God says we are.

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Rosa Diaz

Rosa Diaz

I feel compelled to speak up about an issue that hits close to home - Domestic Violence. Once I healed, I decided to share my experience and provide a new and unprecedented perspective on this widespread, ongoing problem.

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