Saying that it doesn’t make sense to answer questions about bad people because some bad people get acquitted is a textbook Nirvana Fallacy. Just because the justice system isn’t perfect doesn’t mean it should be done away with entirely!
In fact, some bad people getting away with it is part of the design — it’s the only way to run a system where we try hard NOT to convict innocent people. By making sure all accused people are entitled to a robust defence and that the prosecutors and police are held to a high standard of proof, we minimise the conviction of the falsely accused, while accepting that means some criminals will slip through the net.
It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.
Are you seriously suggesting that through community accountability, all bad people will be held accountable and no falsely accused people will be targeted? Because otherwise, according to your logic, community accountability should be abandoned as a concept.
And before you tell me I haven’t read it properly — I have read it, and re-read it, and then gone and read other stuff about prison abolition, community accountability and transformative justice. I will continue to read and engage with the material and look for positives.
Unfortunately, what I’ve seen so far falls in three camps (all these examples come from the INCITE! community accountability working document, but similar themes are replicated in many places):
- Laudable activity that should definitely be done but in no way replaces the need for incarceration. (eg: Educate survivors’ family members to be able to support them better, Violence prevention campaigns in schools, Create community building activities such as youth groups and community gardens.)
- Ridiculously optimistic ideas of things that might stop things like rape, domestic violence and murder (eg: Confront perpetrator with a group of people in a place where the perpetrator will be embarrassed, Use street theater to demonstrate to community members how they could intervene if they see acts of violence or harassment, Hold someone accountable in a community by not ostracizing them, but by all the community members refusing to show affection to that person.)
- Vigilante justice (Throw stones at offender’s house, Distribute a list of known rapists in community, Develop an alternative peer court system to adjudicate issues of violence, Walk around carrying an axe to indicate you’re prepared to defend yourself.)
Unfortunately the best argument that these people can come up with is that there are problems with the prison system. Agreed. Let’s fix the system. Let’s not replace it with some poorly thought out, batshit crazy, desperately naive thought that we can handle it on our own without the police, courts and prisons.
Fear of rapists isn’t ‘fear of the other’, it’s fear of being raped. Which is super scary and shouldn’t be dismissed as if ‘rapists’ are a protected class against whom we must not discriminate.