Justice or Just Us by Rapheal Mitchell

For my first blog, I would like to talk about justice vs. punishment…

Do you remember the first rule you broke? Was it something simple like taking that chocolate chip cookie that your mother said “Not before dinner”. Was it wetting the bed but blaming it on spilled milk? Whatever you did wrong, imagine if everyday of your life someone pointed out your mistake or bad decision. I have been in prison now sixteen years and have nine more before I get the “eligibility” of parole. In January 2017 I received 10 years for the nature of my crime. I was lost because I thought that is what the judge did when I was sentenced. So are these next nine years punishment or justice. I am in no way discounting my victim and his family. I personally would not say 15 years is the equivalent of a life, but I do not believe the judge inappropriately sentenced me. Was that not justice? If you broke the law today by speeding, maybe five to ten miles over the speed limit, are you a bad person? Of course not. First, this no such thing as a bad person. Second, you are not your bad dececions. Yet when you commonly look at prison, prisoners, or criminality in general, you tend to have a sour disposition. Why? When it is not just us who make bad decisions. Hopefully now you think differently. At the end of the day, whether you called in to work sick but were not really sick, you filed that deduction that truly was not yours to file, or some minor petty law that should not “really”be a law, maybe you relook at how all of us are humans who make decisions. Sometimes not good ones, but justice can not be just for you and not for us. They say justice is blind, but sometimes for prisoners it seems invisible. Change your point of view and change the conversation.

Rapheal Mitchell
DOC #434-576

3 replies »

  1. Rapheal, justice is blind. Which is why we utilize atty’s both to prosecute and to defend. And a presiding Judge, and sometime, even a jury.
    That said, appeals can be made everyday, and are reviewed in a timely manner. I’m not saying that the judge is a homophobic bigot, or racially prejudice. But it has happened before. I watched your TED talk presentation and was actually turned off by it, perhaps through it, to your acceptance of your circumstances. It made me feel as though you still see things as others’ fault and you the victim.
    Perhaps that’s where his head is, as well. We speed because we are subversive. It is in our nature, that when limitations are placed upon us, we must violate those limitations. Some we even feel greatly justified in doing, and this post appears to have that kind of a ring to it.
    You are intelligent, and good looking, and should have the whole world opening up for you.

    When I was in jail, all I did was study inmates’ cases, and selecting the ones I thought were maliciously sentenced. With the inmates permission I wrote appeal letters, professional, not harassment letters. I aided two in having their convictions overturned, and helped two others get reduced sentences. Because of this, every atty wanted to know my conditions and circumstances, and got me out long before my due time. And I am greatly thankful for them…because as you said, we are not all bad people. We just sometimes make really bad choices and decisions. You have 9 years to see how many peoples lives you can affect for the better. And I promise you, in doing so, your life will be greatly blessed.
    As always, God Bless you and keep you.


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