The Act of Repair

Ashil Patel

Professor Joe

English 110

September 16, 2016

 

Studies show that nearly 32 percent of federal prisoners returned to prison within five years of their release to community supervision. Spelman believes that our correctional system doesn’t have any effect on the criminals, you can put someone in a box for several years but that won’t repair their mindset of being a criminal. “Punishment is aimed not at repairing the harm offenders did to the victims, nor at repairing offenders or their relationships to victims and the community. Indeed, if anything, punishment seems geared to trying to break offenders and to rupture their connection to the larger society not just by putting up all manner of physical, social, and emotional barriers, but by making offenders think that the only consequences of their acts they need to think about are the punitive consequences for themselves” (Spelman 56).

Criminals ruin lives of innocent people and families; they break something that may not be able to be repaired. Just imagine losing a loved one, that memory of what and when it happened will forever be in the back of your head. Families will have flashbacks of the moments they cherished with that loved one, a loved one that no longer can cherish them back. In recent cases Brock Turner was convicted of felony for sexual assault. Turner was a student athlete at Stanford University on January 18, 2015 when he sexually assaulted an intoxicated and unconscious 22-year-old. We expect someone that did harm to this extent to be behind bars, but for this case he is free, Turner only spent three months in a correctional facility. How can someone be able to walk freely after doing something to that extent? “Repair is not about the new. It is by definition about the survival of the old. Repair appears to be not about making progress but about halting decay, about sustaining something after it has degenerated from its ideal state” (Spelman 137). You can’t repair what you did, Turner can’t just wake up and say sorry. His future actions will later be judged for repair, as Spelman says people have to break through continuity, they can’t just forget what happen. “In devastating such paths of continuity, repair appears to be neither a science nor an art another reason, perhaps, for it not being on the radar screen of significant human doings” (Spelman 137). Just imagine the hurt that the poor victim and her family is feeling right now. There’s nothing that can be done to forget what happen on January 18th. A person can look perfectly fine on the outside, but the interior is still damaged, humans have the ability to cover their emotions and make it seem like everything is pitch perfect but in reality it’s not. Not everyone is eager to seek help from someone, so they bundle up all the hurt and try to forget what has gone wrong. The only way to seek repair is to own up to what has happened and get help to relieve the pain, not everything will be fixed at once, it may take several attempts to feel some sort of discloser.

“To think about repair requires us to recognize our own failures and imperfections and those of the world we live in, to take seriously what we may unreflectively be inclined to regard as the necessary but uninventive and uninspiring work of repairing the damage due to such flaws” (Spelman 138). Brock Turner has to think about his failures, he needs to think about the wrongs he’s done. An apology isn’t just going to come over night, he has to change his lifestyle so others can see that the one mistake he made doesn’t define his life.

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Restorative Justice

Ashil Patel

Professor Joe

English 110

September 15, 2016

 

Have you ever wondered what happens to the people that end up in jail? Do they ever come out and blossom into a new and improved person? Our government believes that by putting criminals into a correctional facility they will come out after several years and become a new person. In some cases, this may be true but that’s a small percentage of people most of them will be sent right back within months maybe even weeks or days. Restorative justice is an approach to justice that focuses on the needs of the victims and the offenders, as well as the involved community. This contrasts to more punitive approaches where the main aim is to punish the offender, or satisfy abstract legal principles. “From the perspective of restorative justice, whatever punishing the offender accomplishes, repair does not seem its aim and even less often its product. The offender may have been punished to the full extent of the law yet remain unregenerate” (Spelman 56).

Studies show that nearly 32 percent of federal prisoners returned to prison within five years of their release to community supervision. Spelman believes that our correctional system doesn’t have any effect on the criminals, you can put someone in a box for several years but that won’t repair their mindset of being a criminal. “Punishment is aimed not at repairing the harm offenders did to the victims, nor at repairing offenders or their relationships to victims and the community. Indeed, if anything, punishment seems geared to trying to break offenders and to rupture their connection to the larger society not just by putting up all manner of physical, social, and emotional barriers, but by making offenders think that the only consequences of their acts they need to think about are the punitive consequences for themselves” (Spelman 56). In chapter four Spelman believes that the criminal justice system doesn’t do the right kind of repair in the right places, she thinks it will leave the victims, offenders, and community in a greater state of disrepair then before. Thoughts on the justice system: if an offender portrays a brutal crime they should be in jail for life, they shouldn’t have the chance have freedom after a certain amount of years, why would you let a dangerous man back on the streets only to harm other pedestrians.

In March, a jury found Brock Turner guilty for a felony of rape to an intoxicated girl, the judge originally said he was looking at 6 years in a federal prison. Brock was in a prison for 3 months and was later released. As Spelman said before, our justice system isn’t made to repair people, it’s just there to take time off the clock so that after the timer goes off everything can be forgotten. Brock is back on the streets after what he did, how do we know if this will repair him or not? The safety of every citizen is what’s important, how can we have that safety if the system is releasing criminals due to good behavior. Does that mean you can be a vicious person in our world today and be free months later due to “good behavior”?

Throughout chapter four Spelman talks about her thoughts on restorative justice. “The restorative in restorative justice is meant to signal its difference from what we know as retributive justice and to bring attention to the fact that crime and other human conflict cause damage not only to the bodies and souls of individuals but to the social fabric of communities” (Spelman 53). Repair is needed due to the harm done not only to people but objects themselves, criminals can destroy anything in their path. Restorative justice is what’s causing innocent people to still get hurt not just physically but emotionally as well. Is retributive justice going to be what actually repairs these criminals, or is it once a criminal always a criminal?

 

Ashil Patel

Professor Joe

English 110

7 September 2016

 

“Repair”

Human actions vary from person to person and even day by day, not all of us are pitch perfect and live fairytale lives. Though some of us may feel we are living in a fairytale and then a storm comes and brushes all the sunshine and blissfulness away. That storm is the reason why everyday people have repairs in life, some maybe simple repairs others may tend to take some time to recover. Elizabeth Spelman talks about these repairs in her book “Repair: The impulse to Restore in a Fragile World.” She talks about issues dealing with art restoration, mechanics, human nature, all of which have a form of repair.

After reading the first three chapters of the story I admire all the different types of repair she talks about. The first thing anyone would think of when they hear the word “repair” would be fixing a car or using some type of appliance to make something work again. This book uses the term “repair” in various different ways, Spelman goes deeper into the term by talking about life’s repairs. Her style of writing is impressive due to the fact that she loops three different types of repairs together. She might start off talking about Willie and how he repairs a car only to get it running, not really caring about the appearance of the vehicle. This could pertain to a doctor fixing a broken bone, it may not look exactly the same but the function of that bone would still be working. Spelman wrote a philosophical book on the many ways humans repair, or attempt to repair something. Chapter three really catches my eye because Spelman talks about actual human repair, she talks about gender repair. The typical stereotype is that men should be the ones working, they should be the ones coming home daily with money on the table for the family. While woman should be at home keeping the kids, or taking pictures in bikinis, those picture which are hung up in the offices of the male dominant workforce. Both genders deal with repair differently, men would choose to fix them with a tool, while woman would try to fix the problem using emotions and stability. If central to domestic masculinity is the repair of material objects and the passing down of lessons about such repair, central to domestic femininity is the repair of persons and relationships” (Spelman 41). Men tend to be the ones that have to be able to fix something, they don’t want to call someone to fix it for them, they feel a sense of entitlement when it comes to household repairs. While woman tend to spread their affection to other so that they can have a sense of repair in their lives. Spelman really catches my eye when she talks about the African American women who worked for the middle class white people, she talks about repair in race. A typical middle class white woman wouldn’t work as hard to repair as would an African American woman. The first three chapters of this story have already given a broader outlook on repair, it’s not all about the materialistic repairs, but it’s about repairs in life that can change the human mind set. Spelman uses a sense of analogy when she talks about fixing a car, you can fix a car from the exterior and it may look nice, but the interior may still have damage to it. Same with a human, they can fix their problems and look perfectly normal from the outside, but the inside it still damaged and could take time to repair.