Have you ever felt like a victim? Whether it was not receiving the right change from the store, taxes increasing or even worse, framed for a crime. We all have moments when we feel victimized but who can we turn to? Usually, some family members or a small non-profit that is overworked or worse, a public defender. Our justice system needs an overhaul. We need a presidential pardon for more than multi-millionaire investors. Our system consistently punishes people that have not lived the Ozzy and Harriet lifestyle. You know why? Because that’s a TV show, not the harsh reality of a capitalistic nation of carnivores. Policies need to be implemented that force judges to view and present the social construction of a criminals background before sentencing. Crime is a dual responsibility of our society and government.
Victim Versus Victim
It’s the saddest day when a child is sentenced to life in prison. Cynthia Brown, a sex trafficked 16 year-old, is being forced to serve 51 years of a life sentence for shooting a man that bought her sexual services. She is much older now and has been consistently serving time for her crime yet she was a child when sentenced as an adult. The judge in the case tried to use state mandates to sentence her instead of balancing the victimization she was already forced into compared to the crime committed. We all know the double standard between prostitutes and johns. The females are sentenced at alarming rates while the johns get a slap on the hand. That double standard can be removed by a federal statute recognizing the defendant as a victim as well.
Our US law code 3771-Crime Victims’ Rights must be amended to include defendants in crimes. The statute basically only names victims as the perpetrated not the perpetrators of a crime. If the law were changed to include the victimization of a defendant, the view of the crime would be presented in a persuasive light to the judges and the jury. It must also insist that both parties in the criminal act be called plaintiffs. The use of the word defendant evokes negativity. The judges in all victim vs victim case must explain to the jury that both parties are victims in the crime as well. It’s up to the lawyers to prove it. These amendments would allow an equitable hearing while including everyone’s victims rights.
Growing Up Cold
We all know that city life is different than the suburbs or rural areas. We know that cities flourish with crime, drugs and despair. Cities glorified like LA and New York have rampant gang issues and drug havens. But what we never hear is that the social construction of growing up in a ghetto is a good defense for criminals. Why not? The idea that Americans pull up their boot straps and make their American Dream come true is not true. The majority of firearm related deaths occur in cities. According to the CDC, up to 80% of all firearm deaths occur in cities. It’s not just in neighborhoods anymore, violence in cities knows no boundaries. In Chicago’s Gold Coast, on Lake Shore Drive and even the CTA’s “L” system have become shooting ranges. Studies have shown that 1 in 4 Chicagoan’s now have PTSD from the growing violence epidemic.
If people are contracting the deadly violence cycle disease, then aren’t they victims? Our social construction is built similar to a building. The basement is our early childhood and the floors are built by the years and experiences we have as we grow. If a person is sex trafficked or forced into a gang, how can they be the perpetrator? At some point our society and our government have allowed a social construction to occur in neighborhoods and communities that can not be controlled any longer. We now have children shooting children at record rates and girls, yes girls, being pimped. These actions are happening right in front of our faces, yet our system has the audacity to call them criminals when their social construction explodes in a crime they commit. Are they committing crimes or surviving?
Victimization Is A Defense
Our system has allowed for past offenses to be restricted from court cases especially in rape cases. Victims can now be set free of their pasts but what if their pasts are the reason for the crime? It’s time we knock on our representatives’ doors and ask for something back for our votes. It’s time we increase social construction and victimization as a legitimate defense in crimes. We can longer continue to build jails, we must build counseling centers and second chance job placement programs. If America is going to be great again, it starts in our criminal justice system.