Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Open Access
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
As humans we have the honor but also the duty to promote just systems. It is our responsibility to make sure we govern in a just way, educate and communicate in a just way, and confront unjust institutions head on looking to make substantial changes. This mindset seems intuitive, but in America we see and know of deep systemic racism coursing throughout every social institution, some of the most notable being the health care system, housing, education, and the justice system (Gosling 2020). This thesis aims to uncover the systematic racism in the prison system and how it has contributed to disproportionately oppress People of Color in the United States in other important facets of society such as in the previously mentioned social institutions of health care, education, and housing. It is intuitive that if an immoral institution has been created and upheld, especially one as intrusive and old as the American prison system that it is necessary to take a different action to make up for and compensate for the harm done. Throughout the first two sections I will point out specific racial injustices. One way to make up the debt owed to People of Color is changing the prison system to a restorative justice process. This process involves a formal conference between those directly involved in the crime as well as family and community members. The conference allows the victim to be a part of a system that directly involves their emotions and being, and the offender is held accountable as well as the community. It is not good enough to just reform the justice system because it is doing what it was intended to do - oppress those who do not fit the description for the perfect society member. Instead we are morally obligated to break it down and rebuild a new one. Restorative justice has the pillars that will allow us to move forward while acknowledging the past. We have a moral duty to change our justice system to one that acknowledges the harms it creates and changes our view of what justice should look like.
Gosling, Elissa, "Addressing Systemic Harms Through Restorative Justice Principles" (2021). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 1591.