This past Black History Month, millions of students were told the story of how America abolished slavery 150 years ago with ratification of the 13th Amendment. The story draws an upward trajectory of racial equality in America. The problem is the story isn't true. We never actually abolished slavery.
Twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and more than a decade after the establishment of the International Criminal Court, shockingly little is being done to stop massive human rights abuses. The prospects of victims receiving justice, let alone bringing perpetrators to account, seem ever more remote.
Rather than approaching crime from the perspective of restorative justice and public health, seeking to help people to reform and re-integrate, our country has instead not only continued in a model of punishment that can only be described as "medieval", but has grown it to a scale unprecedented in world history.
We should be asking how we can best respond to crime in ways that help communities to be safe, healthy, healed, and whole. We should work to prevent crime before it's too late. We should hold people accountable for the harm they have caused, but we should do it in ways that create opportunities for different choices in the future.