this is where i enter text


A Note on Banishmnet

There is a lot of land on earth.

Not as much land as there is water, sure, but there is a whole lot of it. 

Not only is there a lot of it, but there are all kinds of different nations, states, cities, towns, villages, communes, and the like spotting the landscape.  On top of that, there are different cultures, religions, philosophies and laws.  On top of that, there are all of these people.  People everywhere.  Even in places where no people live, people go and visit and check it all out.

So then why would we ever assume that of all possible places, contexts and cultures that the inside of a prison is the best place for anyone?

To use a common example:   Alcohol laws.  There are things which are legal one place and illegal in another.  Consider the dry counties that dot the US (Sometimes w/ enough concentrated dots to qualify as a "swath").  Most penalties in dry counties are relatively minor.

Ramp it up a notch and consider drug laws in the US.  The penalties for marijuana use can be far more punitive.

Now consider the options while disregarding whether you personally believe alcohol and marijuana should be legal or illegal.  Should folks who disagree with you on what constitutes "mostly harmless fun" be put into prison?

Have you ever *been* to a prison?

Perhaps we should reconsider simple exile.  If you are caught and convicted of certain crimes, you are simply not allowed back to the place in which it is illegal.  For example, all those humans driving marijuana out of Colorado to neighboring states could, rather than face jail/prison time can choose to be barred from, say, Oklahoma for life.

Let's consider political prisoners around the globe.  Perhaps a better way forward for everyone is to encourage/choose exile.  Just because there are intractable disagreements does mandate non-coexistence in the world.  Coexistence in the world does not require interaction.

We can argue all day about which crimes this would work for and if there are crimes which demand imprisonment, but the folly of removing people from the whole of the world for things which are illegal in one place and legal in another is troubling.

The notion of "state's rights" in the US has long been code for bigotry and prejudice.  What if, instead, we agreed that we all have differences and that, quite frequently, this is nothing worth going to prison over?  That we can have a broad federal agreement on what the basic laws of the land are without mandating that every place be homogeneous?  What if we can have harsh prohibitions against things based on the values of a community without resorting to depriving humans of their humanity?

We could stand up in our communities for what we believe in while not trampling the rights of others.

The phrase "separate but equal" comes to mind here, but is not quite accurate when we consider the connotations of that phrase.  In this case, we're not sorting by prejudged characteristics, we're sorting by actions and choices.

I'd love for a legal scholar somewhere to tell me why this is an idiotic idea (or at least something which I don't understand fully) and point me to the relevant literature.

No comments:


"He's just this guy, you know?"