Tuesday, August 15, 2017

#227 / It Works For Dogs, Doesn't It?

Lewis writes on parenting and education, and her article was published in Mother Jones in 2015. Here is a very short excerpt, which will give you an idea of Lewis' perspective: 

How we deal with the most challenging kids remains rooted in B.F. Skinner's mid-20th-century philosophy that human behavior is determined by consequences and bad behavior must be punished. (Pavlov figured it out first, with dogs.)

Hey, if it works for dogs it will work for kids, right?

I am more and more thinking that our entire system of "social control" is based on an erroneous idea that "bad behavior must be punished." Our criminal justice system is out of control in a big way, and we should be looking for a better plan. 

Lewis' article focuses on our standard system of student discipline, and suggests that it's counterproductive. 

Let's start thinking about similar alternatives to the "bad behavior means punishment" perspective in the context of criminal justice.

The book I used in my "Introduction To Legal Process" course this summer, Law, Justice And Society: A Sociolegal Introduction," pretty much said that "social control" was the main reason to have laws. I have a somewhat different perspective, but if we genuinely care about "social control," then we're going to have to come up with a different system. 

The "bad behavior means punishment" system doesn't work in our schools, and it doesn't work in society at large.

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