Criminal Law and Justice Lagging Psychological Advancements

Criminal Law and Justice Lagging Psychological Advancements

(rev2018-09-14e)

Criminal law is operating within an archaic knowledge and understanding of humanness.  This knowledge must be updated and incorporated into any proper discussion of criminal sanctions.  New advances in psychology provide new understandings of the actual harmful effects of incarceration presently deemed appropriate justice for a crime.

Understandings in the physiology of psychology and emotional psychology have not been integrated into the fundamentals of criminal sanctions and the understanding of justice. Although those who condone current practices of incarceration may defend them as proper and acceptable in modern society, I will argue that, in the absence of programs to reform incarcerated people, these practices (1) should be understood as cruel and (2) should be understood as limiting and even prohibiting the free exercise of religion.

  1. ARGUMENT 1: Neuroplasticity (ref. 1) is a concept supported by scientific discipline which indicates that the brain has the capacity to rewire functional areas of itself as a result of new experiences thus providing for a capacity within a being to cognitively reinterpret life experience and to reform a previous self-destructive existence.

Within the current culture of punishment and incarceration, without a reformation agenda, this natural attribute of brain physiology tends to reinforce and maintain a cognitive neural circuitry of criminal behavior.  That is, the learning experience within this environment tends to accentuate the existing neural circuitry of the brain that has led to an existing criminal interpretation of life experience.

  1. This reinforced criminal interpretation of reality diminishes and even prevents a person’s religious freedom to exercise a behavior within God’s favor. (reference Constitution Amendments I – free exercise of religion)
  2. Also, this reinforced criminal interpretation of reality tends to further convolute a person’s intent, rational capacity, and self-control and therefore is cruel. (reference Constitution Amendment VIII – cruel and unusual punishment shall not be inflicted)

 

  1. ARGUMENT 2: Evolved Emotional Guidance (ref. 1) redefines an evolved emotional neural circuitry as a neural circuitry of perception of the body’s biochemical physiology precipitated by the brain’s cognitive activities. This means that the neural circuitry of emotional behavior has an evolved function to guide cognitive behavior and physical activity towards the desirable aspects of life, such as, health and well-being.  Emotions have naturally evolved to lead physical and cognitive behavior towards life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Within the current culture of punishment and incarceration, without a reformation agenda, this natural attribute of emotions tends to reinforce and maintain an emotional neural circuitry of existing criminal behavior. That is, the learning experience within this environment tends to accentuate the existing emotional neural circuitry of the brain that has led to an existing criminal life.

  1. This reinforced emotional reality of criminal behavior diminishes and even prevents a person’s religious freedom to exercise a behavior within God’s favor. (reference Constitution Amendments I – free exercise of religion)
  2. Also, this emotional reality of criminal behavior tends to further convolute a person’s intent, rational capacity, and self-control and therefore is cruel. (reference Constitution Amendment VIII – cruel and unusual punishment shall not be inflicted)

 

  1. CONCLUSION: Neuroplasticity and Evolved Emotional Guidance redefine humanness and reconceptualize what it means to be human (ref. 2). These new understandings within the physiology of psychology must be incorporated to understand the nature of the actual punishment being inflicted upon a person within current incarceration as punishment practices that preclude any means of reformation.

I am arguing that a system of incarceration as punishment for a crime without any reformative processes cannot be just and is cruel because it exacerbates and reinforces the criminal element of behavior by convoluting intent, rational capacity, and self-control.  This usual practice of criminal justice is a process of dehumanization and therefore is cruel.   Also, a system that reinforces criminal behavior by convoluting intent, rational capacity, and self-control diminishes a person’s religious freedom to live in God’s favor, thus limiting and even prohibiting the free exercise of religion.

 

Andrew Jackson

andrewjackson1903@gmail.com

Reference:

(1) Jackson, A. (2018, August 09). Symbiotic Psychology: The Synergy Between Mind, Body, Emotions and Consciousness. Retrieved from, https://emotional-evolution.com/

(2) Benko, J. (2015, March 26). “The Radical Humaneness of Norway’s Halden Prison”. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/29/magazine/the-radical-humaneness-of-norways-halden-prison.html?_r=2