The process of being institutionalized does something to you. It chips away at your sense of self. Your sense of humanity. Slowly but surely your status begins to feel less than human. Some would argue that it’s supposed to be that way. Some would argue that it’s supposed to be uncomfortable and traumatic. Others would argue and demonstrate that harsh treatment and out-of-home placement of young offenders fails to produce positive outcomes for offending youth. In fact, decades of research proves that our tough on crime policies that produced a generation of felons and shot the U.S. to the number one global spot in prison population are actually costing us more money and producing less societal benefits.
Compassionate Justice: An Individual Approach
Lucy Flores
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Amongst the most heartbreaking aspects of your story Lucy are the ways the carceral system not only formed you but also deformed you, especially at an age, as you write, when you didn’t know your body and didn’t really know or understand the world. As a society we delude ourselves that we are raising our children with the best of intentions. Several generations of brown and black children are being raised through institutionalization, by the carceral system. What does that say about us? You have overcome staggeringly difficult circumstances. What courage. What strength. What love. Thank you for sharing your extraordinary story.

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