Thoughts on True Crime

Incarcerated people have a complex relationship with the “True Crime” crowd. Authors like Anne Rule have fetishized us and demonized us to such an extreme degree that a vast majority of incarcerated and formally incarcerated people will move heaven and earth to stay out of that dubious lime light. When crimes are committed serious harm is caused to the survivors. This is no reason to write off the person who caused that harm as evil. People are people.

If you haven’t watched it in a while, turn on your local “Most Wanted” show or any sensationalist True Crime reenactment show and for each segment of the show think about how the person who was harmed may feel about what is being said, and think about how the person who caused harm may feel about what is being said. Then during the commercial break think about how everything on the Internet is immortal. Think about that person who was harmed and that person who caused harm seeing those clips in five, ten, fifteen years. About having people they’ve just met randomly saying “Hey, I saw this thing about you on TV last night.” How might that impact them? Year after year after year of being defined as the worst thing that’s ever happened to you, or being defined as the worst thing you’ve ever done.

I bring all this up because I went and did something scary. Whether it was brave or foolish is yet to be seen.
There is a podcast called Criminal Perspectives. I recorded an interview with them which, by the time you read this, should be posted. My reason for doing this is the same as for why I write this blog. I have something to say and I want the opportunity to say it. The prison industrial complex and criminal (in)justice system are a terrible idea. People are people. Life is complex and we shouldn’t throw our fellow humans away. I am both a survivor of criminal harm, and the causer of criminal harm. I think this may be the first time I’ve ever uttered that sentence out loud. I have both caused and received serious irreparable harm.

Sit with that for a moment. Is this statement also true for you? If yes, as a person of both positionallities, what do you believe should happen to you as a person who has caused harm? What do you believe should happen to the people who harmed you? Are these answers similar? Why or why not?

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