OP-ED BY PASTOR ISAAC SCOTT IN COLUMBIA DAILY SPECTATOR
America is a violent, petty nation. The people of this country call for humane justice from the highest hills, but “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” is the way this nation handles its own failures. I’ve said much in the past about the hypocrisies of the current movement to abolish prisons. Until we clearly define exactly what true justice looks like for every group of people, we will continue to see people protest against systemic oppression in the form of incarceration for some people and justify state violence incarceration as a system of punishment. America’s go-to response, prison, is a violent monster without taste buds but with an inexhaustible appetite. The immediate emotional response when a person breaks the law is to seek out punitive responses to deter their behavior rather than invest resources and time into addressing the root causes of the issues that led to the crime. Moving toward and creating a more harm-reductive criminal legal system means that we must define accountability outside of the context of punishment. We live in a nation where the line between accountability and punishment is not clear, and because there is no distinction, the two concepts become one in their application.
PASTOR ISAAC SCOTT,