America’s pilgrims brought with them a punishment model that remains the heart of our civic and group think today.

Puritans stoned, burned and drowned witches and shunned and hung people for being different and for what were often minor infractions.

Over the years, our violent punishment model has come down hard on American Indians, African Americans and other people of color.

We fought a civil war over the right to enslave and abuse people and sell their children & spouses for profit.

Hang’em high, three strikes you’re out – lock’em up and throw away the key has long been this nation’s community and institutional thinking and policy.

It has filled our juvenile and criminal justice systems and built hundreds of prisons for damaged people not likely to find healing or help to live a normal life or find a path out of a system that keeps them tied to it.

The cost of crime is heavy in America as nine year prison recidivism rates are reaching 90%.

Minnesota’s Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz has remarked that “The difference between that poor child and a felon, is about 8 years”).

We expel traumatized children from daycare and elementary schools and police more and more schools with armed law enforcement because classrooms have become dangerous.

COVID is making teaching, policing and parenting hard today.

As the COVID pandemic locks more children in toxic homes. child abuse and domestic violence are increasing unseen and  underreported.

Pre-pandemic, 37% of American youth were being reported to child protection agencies by their 18th birthday in our nation.

Without interrupting abuse and providing healing for the trauma these children are living with, communities will suffer more violence and disruption from the violence and disruptive behaviors aging traumatized children bring to the classroom and and city streets.

The rash of violent carjackings by juveniles in Minneapolis & all over the country (1000’s) are one small picture of the terror damaged youth are bringing to our cities today.

We cannot build enough prisons to house the wave of traumatized children post COVID.

Replacing the centuries old puritan punishment model with the ACEs healing model and restorative justice will make policing, teaching, public health and parenting easier and we will shrink prison populations, increase school performance and walk safer streets once it happens.

Breaking the puritan model of violence and punishment will not be easy and way more of us will need to speak, write and otherwise advocate for a better treatment of at risk children and their families.

These 8 ways of healing are a great first step of managing past abuse (thank you ACES Too High)


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