Dehumanization and Punishment
Two of the things I’ve paid some attention to, one more recently and the other as an ongoing area of interest, came together in an Instapundit update yesterday.
Glenn Reynolds linked to a video of a NYC cop who “threatens a man taking cell phone video with arrest.” This picks up the attention given here and here to the question of law enforcement and ‘citizen photojournalism.’
But what really struck me about this story was the threat attributed to the (apparent) cop, who said, “Guys in jail are going to rape you.”
This is beyond the pale in myriad ways. Reynolds points out in an update that “when you have a badge and a gun you should behave better than the average schmuck, rather than having a license to be a jerk.” Public persons, like law enforcement officials, have a higher standard of conduct than private individuals.
But this story also gets at the necessity of prison reform, and the importance of Christian engagement of the criminal justice system.
The term dehumanization gets used often to describe what happens to a victim, particularly of a violent crime. But it’s all often what happens in the realities of the American system of criminal justice.
Continued at Blog.acton.org