The mental toll that impacts Deaf returning citizens from all walks of life, including the nature of crime during their life, has had an effect in the Deaf community and on the process of how healing can help. We all need to recognize the harm caused by fear mongering media stories. June is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) awareness month.
The state of the American carceral system is characterized by a state of high polarization, “Audism”, is formed from the Latin roots, Audire: to hear, and -ism, a system of practice, behavior, belief, or attitude, as coined by Tom Humphries.
Audism refers to the belief that hearing people are better than Deaf people and the belief that they are more knowledgeable than Deaf people. Often when questions are raised, members of the media ask hearing people for opinions and feel they are right, no matter what. It makes you feel atrocious when they convey to you that hearing people are more knowledgeable than you are.
An editor for Battle for the Constitution, Rebecca Rosen writes:
“Loss often feels utterly isolating, but seeking out connection and support can help you find a way forward…..To grieve is to encounter a paradox. Loss is an inescapable human experience; …And yet, loss can feel utterly isolating, a solitary cell without a window.”
PTSD exemplifies the possibility of grounding a forgotten “voice” in the humanity, emotions, and spiritual experiences of Deaf returning citizens. All contest the very methodological, oppressive language that neglects empathy, restorative justice, and human connections. Deaf returning citizens who suffer from PTSD in the penal system.
Many Deaf returning citizens have experienced language deprivation, and have been dealing with shaming and loss of human connection. Dr. Barbara Kannapell writes: “The trust-mistrust phenomenon among deaf people is evident, and in an instance a perceived difference in language power between the deaf people and the service professional is involved.”
The framework of linguistic dynamics for the Deaf has been oppressive and merged into the paradox of struggle. Throughout the oppressive process, Deaf returning citizens have experienced a deep, lingering dissonance of a human life within our criminal justice system. Those who commit bullying and cyber-bullying fail to recognize the fragile nature of humanity due to lack of empathy, compassion, and open communication. The cultural and societal contextualization of hateful conduct continues.
Not only that, but Deaf returning citizens also deal with the ramifications of shame in the digital and emotional realms, which have resulted in the loss of mental stability, emotional deprivation, and social isolation. They are also physically vulnerable in everyday situations. What about the emotional side? The stress of shaming could easily eat up a human body, mind, and spirit.
Judith Levine and Erica R. Meiners writes:
“And yet, payback also felt unsatisfying—indeed, wrong. Because we know where that retributive impulse, coupled with politically fomented, racially tinged fear of crime, has led: to the buildup of the US carceral state, which imprisons more of its population than any other nation in the world…”
We need to authentically confront our nation’s culture of mass incarceration to seek a form of restorative justice for Deaf incarcerated people who struggle to seek higher learning and educational opportunities. This is a deeply emotional and intuitive issue.
Fear and ignorance has played a huge role in mass incarceration which confronts us all with a powerful stench. When people think of Deaf incarcerated people and Deaf returning citizens, do they think the worst of them? Many of them have to deal with this every day of life. They have been trying to shed light on the obvious facts of the criminal justice system, and to encourage those with power to overcome adversity.
Why the emphasis on restorative justice? Today we need to become more increasingly aware of the importance of healing because passivity often results in nothing changing. We need to welcome critical thinking more often.
Cruel and Unusual punishment, America’s Eighth Amendment is silent–behind our eyes and behind our mind. The old guards need to be replaced with new energy. The service of truth, fairness, constitutionality, justice and equality under the law as it pertains to America’s thousands of shamed, humiliated, and ostracized Deaf returning citizens must be upheld.
This is obviously a hugely important subject. Society should discuss and understand how a draconian punishment is generally accepted, why stigma, mob mentality, public shaming and especially constitutional issues, should be raised as issues and examined to discover to what extent has society acknowledges the stigma and harm being done to the Deaf community that is centralized in the state of being Deaf, especially at the heart of American democracy.
Deaf Counseling Center, the oldest Deaf-owned, Deaf women-run counseling, RC “Returning Citizens”-friendly. Prison/jail is not a good rehabilitation, counseling is.
Please visit http://www.deafcounseling.com
Copyright © 2021 Jason Tozier
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