I have been on a documentary roll. I have also been on a film roll. Documentaries examine facts—information for your brain. Movies tell creative stories.
I watched a few films this past weekend showing at the Jewish Film Festival at Lincoln Center. Watching films that tell stories that are about relationships yet in different countries is so eye-opening. Different cultures are the only thing that separates us. Everyone should see films that open your eyes to the other parts of the world.
The one documentary that I keep thinking about is Crazy Not Insane. It isn’t easy to watch, but Dr. Dorothy Lewis has spent her entire career examining people that society would just like to cross out. She is an expert in serial killers. What is clear is that nobody is born evil. Evil happens to people who are placed in circumstances that are out of their hands.
You can hold people accountable for the crime they committed, but you can’t always hold them accountable for the person they are. Everyone’s makeup is different. Being tortured daily, sexually abused, living in a drug den, eating no food, and having a drug addict as a parent. These are real things that impact each individual so differently, and it happens. We should rethink our system. We can add Death Row to that. It is inhumane. It is time.
Even Indeed runs an ad of a company hiring someone who has been incarcerated. It is a great ad and a real first. We can do better. Some people can never leave jail, while some crimes should not send people to jail. We need to stop just throwing people in jail but figuring out how we can keep them out of jail. It is time to change our system by putting money into social systems and safety nets that help everyone live to their full potential.
There has to be a better way of helping underserved or abused people who haven’t had the good fortune to live in a safe society. We really need to take a much more humane approach to people who have been damaged. How many people who are in jail are harmful to society? How come we have got to the point where it just easier to throw away the key on someone’s life?
The movie is a worthy watch. Thinking about this topic is something we should all do.