I just watched an interesting documentary called Cropsey. I found it very interesting. It talked about Andre Rand and the children that he is thought to have murdered.
This documentary is far different from many documentaries that talk about serial killers. For one, the film makers never once make the assumption that Rand is guilty. Instead, they listen to the opinions of the people they interview and discuss the lack of evidence available. It’s not about making accusations or spreading fear, it’s about trying to find the truth.
But the very method they used to try and find that truth shows a lot of the problems with how we as humans try to find justice. Andre Rand may or may not be a murderer, but we do not have the evidence to say one way or the other. However, it no longer matters if Rand is innocent or not. Someone could find conclusive evidence that he’s innocent and people would still believe that he’s guilty. They would assume that the evidence was fake, or that it was somehow irrelevant or simply misleading. These kinds of witch hunts happen all the time. Once someone is arrested for a crime, they remain a criminal in the minds of people who have heard the story even when they are proven to be innocent.
Our society holds up the mantra “innocent until proven guilty,” but it hardly ever works out that way for the person accused. It’s often guilty until proven innocent in society’s eyes, but even proof of innocents won’t always convince society of the person’s innocence. I can’t help but find this concerning. If people are being victimized, then I want the police to find whoever is doing the victimizing. But I don’t want to just see a trial. I’m not going to feel safe because someone was put in prison based on eye witness testimony alone. I want to know who actually committed the crime. I want the police to make sure that they arrest the right person so that the crime stops. And I want them to fix their mistakes when they make them. I don’t want them to bury their mistakes and allow some innocent person to pay for someone else’s crime while the criminal is able to keep committing the crime.
But I don’t think that that will happen in our current system. I think the justice system needs to be reformed for justice to actually occur. Prison isn’t about rehabilitation or punishment. All it does is keep people away from their victims for a time. Prison just allows people to become worse. Especially if that person is incarcerated for something small like drug possession. I want to see the people who can become rehabilitated, getting the help they need. We’d save a lot of money if we concentrated on creating valuable members of society.
The justice system requires a lot to fix it, but I think it would be worth it if it would put an end to the single minded witch hunts that lead to innocent people in prison and criminals going free.