Incarceration and the Criminal Justice System (A La Spring Break)

Happy third month of 2019 everyone! We’re here! We made it to today and here we are now!

I had the absolute joy of working with the above individuals this past week. Along with my co-facilitator, overall amazing colleague and doctoral candidate Rachele M. Hall we had the unquestionable honor and opportunity of developing and facilitating a weeklong Alternative Spring Break Retreat focusing on Incarceration and the Criminal Justice system for a group of courageous individuals (run-on sentences are LIFE : ).

Each day we focused on a specific theme so that we could dive deeper into the week’s topic. Privilege, Penitentiary, Probation & Parole, and Parental Impact were discussed in depth with some visits to Eastern State Penitentiary, Newburgh, NY and the Dutches County Probation Offices. During our short time together we barely scratched the surface of our nation’s current criminal justice realities. However, we did learn and discuss how mass incarceration became a disgustingly ever booming business model. What’s currently occurring in the nation’s criminal justice politisphere and some of the sad realities taking place in the coming years (more prisons and more money for political investors). Each day we dived further into the realities and heaviness of it all within a safe space for civil conflict and growth focused discussions.

Did we find an antidote to the poisonous and cyclical realties of our nation’s gross criminal justice system? Unfortunately, no. But what we did do is open our mind’s to what is and what could be. We committed ourselves to taking what we’d learned out into the world in the service of others. We learned what occurs when 8 individuals committed to growth come together and we held space for each other as we cried, at times laughed and safely eased into the discomfort that inevitably comes with internal excavation.

I felt immensely moved, fortunate and eased by the conversations these emerging leaders had with each other. Each day they impressed me further by leaning into their holistic maturity, commitment to growth and openness for knowledge. Again, we didn’t solve the challenges we currently face…though we did open ourselves to the potential of doing so.

In both gratitude and light,
Juan-Carlos

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