Jail: A Collision Story

The current talk track against incarcerating criminals needs to be elevated. Here's how.

Tell a "collision story."  A collision story is a tale that comes on like a rushing wave -- directly opposed to what's been sitting as fact.

Take "criminals should go to jail." Most people believe that. A collision story takes the wind out of those sails. Consider this, it's how the Babemba tribe of South Africa deals with offenders of their tribal laws.

The accused individual is placed at the center of the village circle, which is comprised of all of the inhabitants of the village (including young children). Each member of the tribe speaks in turn, recalling positive encounters that they have had with the accused. All his positive attributes, good deeds, strengths, and kindnesses are recited in detail and at great length.
This ceremony often can last for days, after which the circle is closed amidst great celebration, and the accused is welcomed back into the village. - Wink Franklin, in a review of Jack Kornfield's book, The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness and Peace

Meanwhile, in the United States, we incarcerate the largest percentage of our population of any country. Might there be another way?

Sometimes a collision story can break open a concept we've taken for granted, like the importance of punishing and shaming "bad guys." Consider using a collision story to bring life to your cause.

 -- More about the Babemba tribe here and here.




Kathleen Hurley