Why you need to stop using the word criminal…

Untitled design.jpgLast weekend, I was doing some readings for school and came across this passage,

Take a spiritually underdeveloped person, for example, a criminal. Such a person will use self-will in a very obvious way to serve his immediate seeming advantages, disregarding all laws—spiritual as well as human.

And I felt my blood begin to boil.

A couple of years ago I spent time working in a youth custody facility with teenage girls.

Each girl I worked with had had an incredibly challenging childhood. There was violence in their homes and then they were taken away from their families by the Children’s Aids Society. They ended up with foster families or group homes that treated them poorly. And soon, usually at age 12 or 13, they turned to alcohol or drugs and from there ended up in the criminal justice system.

They were teenage girls. Some were shy, some were sassy.  They giggled about who they had a crushes on.

And they wanted to help others who’d been through what they’d been through.

There are many words I would use to describe these young women: strong, resilient, passionate, kind and caring. Criminal is not one of them.

Did they make mistakes? Yes.

Did they commit crimes? Maybe. Some were just accused and awaiting trial and I honestly don’t know details of why each girl was in custody.

Were they doing the best they could with the resources they had access to? I wholeheartedly believe that they were.

And the criminal justice system doesn’t treat all races equally.

According to National Geographic you’re much more likely to be pulled over if you’re black than if you’re white and according to the Toronto Star Aboriginal youth are more likely to get a harsher sentence than their non-aboriginal peers for the same crime.

So who gets convicted of a crime depends on many factors that are out of the individual’s control.

Lastly, when you use the word criminal, it makes it more difficult to see the person you’re talking about as a human being.

It makes it more difficult to be empathetic.

And I’m not saying that there should be no consequences for committing a crime.

I’m asking we don’t dehumanize those who end up in the criminal justice system.

To learn more about the problems with the US prison system, check out Ava DuVernay’s documentary 13th on Netflix.

I know this is a diversion from the topics I usually talk about in this newsletter so I’d love your feedback. What did you think? Do you want more newsletters like this?

Take care and have a great weekend,


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Author: Bryn Bamber

I work with big hearted people who want to make a positive impact in the world. The only problem is: -Your career isn’t working -You wake up some days and don’t want to get out of bed -You’re stressed about paying the bills Career Coaching in the Forest teaches you how to make small shifts that will free up tons of energy for the things you really love. A life where you wake up to feeling a sense of purpose and easily pay the bills. I teach you how to approach making a career change in a way that is fun, easy and gets results :). I have over a decade of experience in the field of education and during my four years at an educational non-profit I hired enough contract staff to know what employers want and DON’T WANT in the job application process. So why did I start this? When I was 24, I was overwhelmed by my job working with vulnerable youth and fell apart. I moved to a yoga centre for 2 years to put myself back together. There I figured out what I was messing up at work and became a yoga and meditation teacher. Career Coaching in the Forest will help you to see the mistakes you’re making without having to move to a yoga centre! And use meditative practices to help you see where you need to go. I know exactly what it feels when something’s not right in your career and now I love helping others to make changes so their lives can become full of meaning and purpose again and so that you can make lots money too ;). Start today: get my Free Resource: Land Your Dream Job Checklist here - tinyurl.com/dreamjobchecklist And above all else, please go for your dreams. Your life has meaning. You are here for reason. Find out what it is and when you do put all you that you got towards it! Talk soon! Bryn To learn more go to www.couragecompass.org

2 thoughts on “Why you need to stop using the word criminal…”

  1. I like this! One of the first things I learned in Ireland: one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. And yes, the violence in Northern Ireland is gendered. For sure. Thanks for sharing your thoughts : )


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