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“Recidivism has a lot to do with resignation. Ditto for other ills.” — James Baldwin

Why do people go back to prison repeatedly, until they die or are too feeble to commit any more crimes? What the loved ones of the incarcerated tell me — for the most part (having polled hundreds over the years) — is resentment. All “cons” resent the treatment they got as children — from an unfair or sadistic teacher, an insincere or absent father, an uncaring or incompetent mother, an abusive or alcoholic uncle or neighbor, or a myriad of other sources, various grievances — so they commit an act of defiance down the line.

That, of course, is what brings them into conflict with the law — and they resent the treatment they get courtesy of the cops very often, social workers, juvenile authorities et alia. That being the case, they are started on the endless carousel called recidivism, which is defined as “sinking back into crime.” From first offenders, they become second offenders, multiple offenders, eventually habitual criminals, and every sentence they serve in hatred and resentment, hope, as a rule, disappearing from their vocabulary, their visceral expectations of themselves.

Some are restless to get out, so they can prove again that they are still rebels against a system that is unfair. Others are willing to try to make it honestly (even after being subjected to the horrific influences and sufferings associated with incarceration) — and yet they fail. They flail, then, against fitting in.

What role does war play in all this? None? How about multiple wars? How about the bleeding of our many wars blending into the warp and woof of our society? Any thoughts regarding whether or not the militarism of America — very well documented definitively, by the way — plays a part in undermining “hope” and/or faith in oneself? Does the dog eat dog dynamic which underscores so much of criminality have a parallel in the wider society and get exacerbated via wars? And, yes, let’s consider the U.S.blatant, arrogant violations of international law — incessantly — and the collateral damage done overseas. AND the fact that the U.S military is, arguably, the greatest single non-nation polluter on the planet.

But… what about bullying in schools, if you don’t buy the thrust of what I’m saying above? Is domestic violence influenced by our wars? By the homecomings of tortured, disabled vets? By the proliferation of homeless families whether or not they come about as a function of traumatized returning soldiers and sailors and drone operators and fighter pilots and the like?

What about the mendacity in government (necessary, it seems, to wage war with public support)… that has brought about the dominant nihilism today? Drug addiction which was fueled by stints overseas… culminating in crime? Suicides? Does anything at all that’s been delineated here resonate? I can hardly stop myself from going on and on and on.

Let me know what you think, if you will. Get on this, please, as we CAN do something about what we’ve been taught to accept with resignation.

Richard Martin Oxman is the founder of the Oxman Collective, and he can be reached at aptosnews@gmail.com. He wants to underscore — with his colleagues — the obvious point that poverty alone, exacerbated by war funding draining the public coffers, can be directly correlated with recidivism. 

 

 

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