Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Failure to Indict

Hal Pepinsky, pepinsky@indiana.edu, “peacemaking” at pepinsky.blogspot.com
November 25, 2014

 The conclusion reached yesterday by the grand jury not to indict Darren Wilson amounts to this:  It was reasonable of Mr. Wilson to suppose that he was under continuing threat of death or serious bodily injury when he shot Michael Brown dead.  All we know is that no more than 4 of 12 grand jurors concluded that Mr. Brown still presented a reasonable threat to Mr. Wilson when Mr. Wilson fired the fatal shot(s).  The jurors remain anonymous, their deliberations and questions asked of prosecutors during deliberations are secrets all involved are legally obliged not to reveal.  As I argued in the first chapter of my 1976 book (Crime and Conflict: A Study of Law and Society, under books at critcrim.org), belief in the fairness of jury decisions rests on being unable to show manifest bias, that is on failing to explain jurors’ decisions.  That is the position taken by the prosecutor in this case.  In true fairness, we have no basis for concluding anything personal about what the majority of the jurors felt or concluded.  Their decision was expected a week ago or more.  The deliberations must have been hard, and probably heated.  I hope they rest well and somehow get to share their burden and feel safe.
 Mr. Wilson’s testimony that he felt threatened is uncontradicted.  So is the long history of white people like me growing up knowing black people as different, and if black, different at least, physically threatened if also big, like Mr. Brown.  The tragedy of Mr. Brown’s death has aroused such anger because it reflects an underlying truth about being black and unarmed in a white world—that black folks know and feel firsthand, that we white folks can at best acknowledge among ourselves and learn better.
 Policing takes prejudice to a new level, for police are trained to look for trouble, to be suspicious, to establish they are in charge of “situations,” and when they fire in fear for themselves or others, to shoot only to kill.  In the forty years since I spent hundreds of hours on police patrol, I am sure that police are more estranged from the people they patrol than ever.  Where nearly all-white, predominantly young officers police communities of color, it is to be expected that the police will fear, suspect, and intimidate neighborhoods they grew believing are full of dangerous people.
 Practically nothing in police training introduced police to those they patrol.  A remedy would be to make community orientation basic rookie police training.  Out of the academy, officers would spend time in the district they would patrol first being introduced by senior partners in local community centers where they could meet residents and businesspeople personally and hear their concerns.  Community and school representatives might invite them to social events, to get acquainted.   It’s one idea.  The point is that the problem that led Mr. Wilson to suppose an unarmed big black man threatened to kill him reflects a continuing problem of police not knowing the people they police as full human beings rather than as suspects.  Today, if anything, greater reliance on technology and increased firepower have increased that distance everywhere.
 Thirty years ago when a white officer shot a black football player dead in Bloomington, Indiana, where I lived and worked, I recommended that police leave all firearms secure in their cars, to be removed only on approval from a superior officer, in this case one who fired the fatal shot during a scuffle.  I believed then for Denver Smith, as I do now for Mr. Wilson, that it is a danger to themselves and others for police to carry deadly arms.  I am aware of the political gap between what logically could most reduce the death toll for young men of color by police on one hand, and in fact reduce the chances of officers putting themselves in positions where they, unarmed, might be shot.  It would be as prudent as it is culturally unimaginable.
 I have been interested to hear that the US Justice Department’s Community Relations Service has been at work in the St. Louis area.  The first director of the CRS, Calvin Kytle, was a long-time friend and publisher of Paul Jesilow’s and my Myths That Cause Crime, focused on civil rights issues in the South in the mid-sixties.  Communication of the kind police and their communities need is their mission.  The death of Michael Brown, and the exoneration of Mr. Wilson, bring to our attention once again how ingrained the image of black dangerousness is in us white folks is, and of how militarized our police have been since the 19th century.  So is the idea of police as a military force for order, impartially, without attachment to those they police.  We cannot change or stop this reality in its tracks.  We can recognize, as many in policing and criminology did in the late sixties and early seventies, that what can most readily change is for police and their communities to become personally acquainted, to know those they police more and fear them less, as those they police get a chance to do likewise.  Whether by outreach by community leaders, or by police, getting to know one another outside street encounters is one remedy that doesn’t have to await cultural shift.  Love and peace, hal

Monday, November 24, 2014

Resignation of Chuck Hagel


Hal Pepinsky, pepinsky@indiana.edu, “peacemaking” at pepinsky.blogspot.com

November 24, 20146


                Today, Chuck Hagel formally resigned as Defense Secretary, yet agreed to stay on until a replacement is confirmed (or until President Obama leaves office, whichever comes first.  Mr. Hagel leaves quietly, like a good soldier, expressing nothing but gratitude for the honor of service and affection for his commander-in-chief.  And yet it is easy to imagine why he is resigning.

                Nebraska Senator Hagel, who came into office a highly decorated Vietnam war veteran, was the lone Republican in 2007 to vote for a resolution giving President Bush 120 days to clear out of Iraq, citing “the corrupt al-Maliki regime.”  He was a veteran who sought to avoid the tragedy of Vietnam. He was appointed by a president who ran for office on a pledge to leave Iraq and end the war in Afghanistan.  He came into office to aid in reducing the size of the armed forces.

                Chuck Hagel leaves office the day after the New York Times reports that President Obama has “secretly” expanded the role of Afghan ground troops.  I wonder if the timing is more than coincidence.

                The sad fact is that with Secretary Clinton the only visible candidate other than Senator Bernie Sanders for the Democrats for president in 2016, and her rhetoric on fighting terrorism has been tougher than President Obama’s.  Meanwhile, there is only one identified Republican presidential candidate or spokesperson on the media, Rand Paul, who has steadfastly opposed expanded military involvement abroad.  Apart from democracynow.org, I can scarcely find any US national news network that presents any of the US anti-war sentiment that exists.  Notwithstanding the blessing of President Obama’s temporary amnesty for a limited number of undocumented immigrants, border security and deportations and detention continue to grow.  I see no prospect that in 2016 or 2020, a major party candidate who will propose a major reinvestment of the resources, including our soldiers, to fighting “terrorism” bigger and harder.  As for 2024, who knows?

                Last night, CBS “Sixty Minutes” had a segment on deterioration of the US infrastructure, and of how hopeless it was to foresee Congress finding the money anywhere, as by raising gas taxes or raising “wealth” taxes.  I’m taken back to the supposed call for military “economic conversion” as the Cold War ended in 1989.  Suppose we bring the troops home in large numbers, and deploy them to repair bridges, roads, and sewer systems, to clean and repair waterways and water systems, to help engineer and deploy solar, wind and water energy sources both large and small enough for individual consumer use.  Suppose military arms production was shifted domestic transport, and for production of machinery for domestic military and civilian use, toward the end of making development economically and environmentally sustainable and inclusive.  Suppose troop redeployments home were supplemented by expansion of programs for US youth to serve needs for education and other social services, including time with the elderly and infirm.  Imagine using troops abroad as US infantry are doing building field hospitals for ebola patients in Liberia, or in general supplementing the Peace Corps.  Imagine a party or a major party presidential candidate who would run on a platform of converting military service to maintaining and sustaining ourselves.  Eventually, public service, including military service, could become a major source of employment, education, and career development for our youth.

                It wouldn’t have to cost taxpayers any more than we now pay for US warfare and “counterterrorism” abroad.  It is easy in theory to see how to meet our needs primarily to assume a duty of care for all our relations and for our sustenance simply by executive action of our commander-in-chief.  But for the time being, we are stuck as a political culture in the conviction that the way to resolve social problems is to stop, end, or abolish them.  Discourse and action are dominated by fear.  Chuck Hagel’s resignation is a sign, I think, of quiet despair, a sign that the growth of US warfare appears for this political moment to be unstoppable.  Mr. Hagel, thanks for trying.  Love and peace, hal

Wednesday, November 5, 2014



Hal Pepinsky, pepinsky@indiana.edu, “peacemaking” at pepinsky.blogspot.com

November 5, 2014


                I recently received this message from an old friend, Neil Brick, with a list of references to anyone, notably to criminologists who study and try to measure “murder,” on evidence against claims that recovered memories, notably those like Neil’s of having been raised in a homicidal satanic ritual cult:


Ritual Abuse Evidence - Statistics, Research, Legal Cases and Studies                      

Child Abuse Wiki - Ritual Abuse

Ritual abuse exists all over the world. There have been reports, journal articles, web pages and criminal convictions of crimes against children and adults.

Proof That Ritual Abuse Exists

Large List of Ritual Abuse and Satanic Ritual Abuse References

Child Abuse Wiki – Recovered Memories

There is very strong scientific evidence that recovered memories exist. This has been shown in many scientific studies. The content of recovered memories have fairly high corroboration rates.

The Dark Tunnels of McMartin – Dr. Roland C. Summit http://ritualabuse.us/ritualabuse/articles/the-dark-tunnels-of-mcmartin-dr-roland-c-summit-journal-of-psychohistory/

The McMartin Preschool Case – What Really Happened and the Cover-up

Denying Ritual Abuse of Children – Catherine Gould The Journal of Psychohistory 22 (3) 1995 http://ritualabuse.us/ritualabuse/articles/denying-ritual-abuse-of-children-catherine-gould/

Believe the children (1997). “Conviction List: Ritual Child Abuse”. http://ra-info.org/faqs/ra-convictions/

2008 Publications on Ritual Abuse and Mind Control

Lacter, E (2008-02-11). “Brief Synopsis of the Literature on the Existence of Ritualistic Abuse”. http://endritualabuse.org/evidence/brief-synopsis-of-the-literature-on-the-existence-of-ritualistic-abuse/

Bottoms, Shaver and Goodman in their 1993 study to evaluate ritual abuse claims found that in 2,292 alleged ritual abuse cases, 15% of the perpetrators in adult cases and 30% of the perpetrators in child cases confessed to the abuse. Data from Brown, Scheflin and Hammond (1998).”Memory, Trauma Treatment, And the Law” (W. W. Norton) ISBN 0-393-70254-5 (p.62) Bottoms, B. Shaver, P. & Goodman, G. (1993) Profile of ritual abuse and religion related abuse allegations in the United States. Updated findings provided via personal communication from B. Bottoms. Cited in K.C. Faller (1994), Ritual Abuse; A Review of the research. The American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children Advisor , 7, 1, 19-27

On Page 170 (first edition), of Cult and Ritual Abuse – Noblitt and Perskin (Praeger, 1995) states “One of the best sources of evaluative research on ritual abuse is the article “Ritual Abuse: A Review of Research” by Kathleen Coulborn Faller (1994)….in a survey of 2,709 members of the American Psychological Association, it was found that 30 percent of these professionals had seen cases of ritual or religion-related abuse (Bottoms, Shaver & Goodman, 1991). Of those psychologists who have seen cases of ritual abuse, 93 percent believed that the reported harm took place and 93 percent believed that the alleged ritualism occurred. This is a remarkable finding. Mental health professionals are known to be divergent in their thinking and frequently do not agree with one another regarding questions of the diagnosis and etiology of psychiatric problems…this level of concurrence in a large national sample of psychologists…would be impressive….the similar research of Nancy Perry (1992) which further supports (the previous findings)…Perry also conducted a national survey of therapists who work with clients with dissociative disorders and she found that 88 percent of the 1,185 respondents indicated”belief in ritual abuse, involving mind control and programming” (p.3).”

Craighead, W. E.; Corsini, R.J.; Nemeroff, C. B. (2002) The Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology and Behavioral Science Published by John Wiley and Sons ISBN 0471270830 – Sadistic Ritual Abuse (p.1435 – 1438) http://books.google.com/books?id=JQMRmyOfpJ8C&pg=PA1436&lpg=PA1436#v=onepage&q=sadistic%20ritual&f=false

Sexual Abuse in Day Care: A National Study – Executive Summary – March 1988 – Finklehor, Williams, Burns, Kalinowski “The study identified 270 “cases” of sexual abuse in day care meaning 270 facilities where substantiated abuse had occurred involving a total of 1639 victimized children….This yielded an estimate of 500 to 550 reported and substantiated cases and 2500 victims for the three-year period. Although this is a large number, it must be put in the context of 229,000 day care facilities nationwide service seven million children….allegations of ritual abuse (“the invocation of religious, magical or supernatural symbols of activities”) occurred in 13% of the cases.” The authors divided these cases into “true cult-based ritual,” pseudo-ritualism” with a primary goal of sexual gratification and ritual being used to intimidate the children from disclosing and “psychopathological ritualism” the activities being “primarily the expression of an individuals obsessional or delusional system.”  https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/Digitization/113095NCJRS.pdf

Books on Ritual Abuse

Johnson Davis, Anne  “Hell Minus One: My Story of Deliverance From Satanic Ritual Abuse and My Journey to Freedom” Transcript Bulletin Publishing – ISBN 978-0-9788348-0-7 – 2008  “Anne’s parents confessed their atrocities—both in writing and verbally—to clergymen, and to detectives from the Utah Attorney General’s Office.  Anne’s suppressed memories, which erupted when she was in her mid-30s, were fully substantiated by her mother and stepfather….The book’s foreword was written by Lt. Detective Matt Jacobson, who was the lead investigator with the Utah Attorney General’s Office on Anne’s case in 1995.” http://www.HellMinusOne.com

Hell Minus One – signed verified confessions of satanic ritual abuse – Anne’s parents confessed their atrocities – both in writing and verbally.

Epstein, O., Schwartz, J., Schwartz, R.  Ritual Abuse and Mind Control: The Manipulation of Attachment Needs 2011 Karnac Books. London ISBN 1-85575-839-3 http://www.karnacbooks.com/Product.asp?PID=29482  Google Books Version http://books.google.com/books?id=xU6GZ28gGy4C&dq=Ritual+Abuse+and+Mind+Control:+The+Manipulation+of+Attachment+Needs&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Noblitt, J.R.; Perskin, P. S. (eds) (2008). Ritual Abuse in the Twenty-first Century: Psychological, Forensic, Social and Political Considerations. Bandor, OR: Robert Reed, 552. ISBN 1-934759-12-0.

Noblitt, JR; Perskin PS (2000). Cult and ritual abuse: its history, anthropology, and recent discovery in contemporary America. New York:Praeger. ISBN 0-275-96665-8. http://books.google.ca/books?id=zJkTTpfyJ-8C&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_summary_r&cad=0

Cult and Ritual Abuse – James Randall Noblitt – Chapter 6 – Empirical Evidence of Ritual Abuse http://books.google.com/books?id=zJkTTpfyJ-8C&printsec=frontcover#PPA55,M1

Rutz, Carol (2001). A Nation Betrayed. Grass Lake, MI: Fidelity Publishing. ISBN 0-9710102-0-X.
The Chilling True Story of Secret Cold War Experiments Performed on our Children and Other Innocent People by Carol Rutz http://www2.dmci.net/users/casey

Ryder, Daniel. (1992). Breaking the Circle of Satanic Ritual Abuse: Recognizing and Recovering - CompCare Pub.

Secret Weapons – Two Sisters’ Terrifying True Story of Sex, Spies and Sabotage by Cheryl and Lynn Hersha with Dale Griffis, Ph D. and Ted Schwartz. New Horizon Press, P O Box 669 Far Hills, NJ 07931 – ISBN0-88282-196-2 Is a well-documented, verifiable account of not one, but two childrens’ long untold stories of being CHILD subjects of Project MKUltra. Quotes from the book: “By the time Cheryl Hersha came to the facility, knowledge of multiple personality was so complete that doctors understood how the mind separated into distinct ego states,each unaware of the other. First, the person traumatized had to be both extremely intelligent and under the age of seven, two conditions not yet understood though remaining consistent as factors. The trauma was almost always of a sexual nature…” p. 52 “The government researchers,aware of the information in the professional journals, decided to reverse the process (of healing from hysteric dissociation). They decided to use selective trauma on healthy children to create personalities capable of committing acts desired for national security and defense.” p. 53 – 54 The book also contains a variety of documents on mk-ultra and different projects as well as reports to the Presidential Committee on Radiation and Mind Control, including information on the five Canadians’ lawsuit against the U.S. Government.

Sinason, V (1994). Treating Survivors of Satanist Abuse. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-10543-9. http://valeriesinason.co.uk/index.html 


                I met Neil Brick at a ritual abuse conference in Indianapolis in 1996, where we both presented, he as a survivor, I having just discovered two active satanic ritual sites, presented on the seminar that included, eventually was team-taught by, survivors of ritual abuse, and protective parents of sexually assaulted children.  Neil founded the organization SMART (stop mind control and ritual abuse today) and began a conference in which I presented and participated from the first year of the conference in 1998, until I retired in 2009, except for 2006 when my daughter was getting married.  Neil repeatedly visited my classes during those years.  The address of the SMART website is ritualabuse.us.  Neil provides the most comprehensive online library on the subject of ritual abuse of anyone I know.  He also provides audio tape of some of my presentations.

                You’ll see if you google my name that my experiences with survivors, advocates, and the wide array of mutually confirming evidence I saw revolutionized my profile of the murderer.  Having become convinced that as I am that likely as not in your community as I have known it to be in mine, there is at least one, intergenerationally based, group performing ritual human sacrifices on several high holidays, and for disciplinary reasons, who know quite well how to dispose of human remains they don’t eat and drink. Child prostitution and human trafficking, pornography and snuff films, are among its enterprises.  I also know many intergenerational survivors who in childhood, proven able to split into “multiple personalities” to compartmentalize secrets about what was done to them, to perform undercover, notably CIA/NSA-affiliated missions from drug muling to blackmail to assassination.  At fringes are teens and children brought in.  At its core are implicitly white supremacist men, many of whom are prominent in everyday life.  The numbers of victims across the US could easily number in the tens of thousands.

                When I put this empirical reality of mine together with the freedom with which my government’s missiles kill innocent people abroad, I cannot accept the profile of the killer as a young man of color, foreign or domestic.  When it comes to extreme, organized serial violence, the first image that comes to my mind is an otherwise established middle-aged white guy like me, whose murders are immune from detection, let alone prosecution.  To, the most extreme personal violence we in my country commit is at once denied at home and excused abroad.  The denial implicit in our selection of offenders whose characteristics we criminologists study reflects the cultural assumption which so culturally binds our discourse: that violence is an individual personality trait, rather than a matter of social circumstance.  When people ask me, as students often have done, “What would you do with a serial killer?” I would respond: first, I would want people to notice that the serial killing exists. And to notice the serial killing I find the most gruesome and sadistice, I have had to get over the notion that it takes a certain kind of person to be a serial killer.

                Neil Brick, thanks for all you are doing to help people notice ritual violence and its associates.  And thanks to the many survivors strong and brave enough to tell it like it is.  Love and peace, hal

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Individualizing versus Individuating


Hal Pepinsky, pepinsky@indiana.edu, “peacemaking” at pepinsky.blogspot.com

October 31, 2014


                Ernst A. Wenk and Robert L. Emrich published what remains for me the most authoritative study of the potential for predicting individual behavior to this day: “Assaultive Youth: an exploratory study of assaultive experience and assaultive potential of California Youth Authority wards,” Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 9 (July 1972), pp. 171-196.  The 4,146 youths admitted to the CYA’s Reception and Diagnostic Center 1964-65 were followed up for 15 months after release on parole, when 104 of them became violent parole violators.  The 104 violators and the rest of the sample were randomly split in two.  One half were used to infer a weighted series of 18 variables predicting parole violation, from prior history of violence to months incarcerated.  The predictors were applied to the other sample.  False positives and false negatives were calculated as successive predictor variables were added to prediction equations.  At all levels, trade-offs between falsely predicting “recidivism” and failing to predict it were substantial.  More significantly, the predictors added to the equation, the more errors there were overall—the worse the trade-off.  (I discuss the significance of this study at length in chapter 10 of my 1980 Crime Control Strategies book.)

                At the time the study was published, I had just met and was about to become team-teacher with Leslie T. Wilkins.  Les and Herman Mannheim had won the British Statistical Society’s research award for their study of Prediction Methods in Relation to Borstal Training (HMSO, 1955).  By the time I met him, Les had long since renounced his own quest to predict behavior, concentrating on decision-making.  He was working with Don Gottfredson to design the first federal parole guidelines (which design later became perverted into parole prediction).  My recollection is that Les gave me a reprint of the Wenk and Emrich article the day I as a new assistant professor at SUNY-Albany walked into Les’s office to introduce myself.  He pointed out that he had written a foreword to the article, which read in part:

Something different must be attempted if we are to seek to control the behaviors we find repulsive….Perhaps this study should be “the last word” for some time in the attempt to “predict” violence potential for individuals.

Les got his two years of post-secondary education in engineering during his period analyzing

plane crashes for the Royal Air Force during World War II.  As he explained the systems analysis he applied, “the question was whether to reconfigure the instrument panel or replace (i.e. blame) the pilot.”  From WWII he went to the Statistical Unit of the British Home Office, thence to the UN research unit in Tokyo, thence to a brief stint in the closing days of the School of Criminology at Berkeley, and thence to become a founding member of the School of Criminal Justice at Albany in 1968, where we met and spent a lot of time together for our four years together.  He was a true mentor.

                Les taught me to recognize it fundamental to statistics—generalizing from one situation or sample to a larger population—rest on units of variance, which require that you have a sample of at least three data.  This took me back to the beginning of my intro statistics course (in grad school): the probability attached to any point on a sampling distribution is zero.  Translated into human science, as E.F. Schumacher (creator of the concept of “appropriate/intermediate” technology) put it in Small is Beautiful: economics as if people mattered, individual behavior is in principle unpredictable.

                The dominant culture in my part of the world is individualism.  Individualism is a paradox.  On one hand, as in blaming, holding accountable, holding liable, holding responsible, punishing, rewarding, correcting, treating, disciplining, evaluating, diagnosing and grading individuals as discrete bodies.  On the other hand, it reduces each individual to a classification based on prior behavior.  As individuals, at our scientific frontier, as in criminology, we seek to correct that individual by evidence-based best practices, for what has worked for more individuals who have the same profile, who are treated as “like that” group of persons in the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, or in that “risk group.”  As Les Wilkins pointed out, this modeling of human behavior is deterministic, as against the stochastic modeling he found “useful.”

                Survivors who had adapted to severe, repeated childhood trauma by “splitting” into “multiple personalities” or “dissociative identities,” many of whom had in safety “reintegrated” their “parts” or “alters” with a core sense of self, made me aware that in myself, as in other “onesies,” there are also many parts that are variously “triggered” by circumstance, that may for example act out in anger, as though a piece of the past is present.  For the survivors, healing entails learning to differentiate between the circumstances that brought out angry or submissive alters in the past and this or that present relationship.  As they build trust in some relations, to distinguish these relations from those they defended themselves against, they come to know and let out other parts that can afford compassion, empathy, responsiveness to the needs and sensibilities of others in that context.  More subtly, less consciously perhaps, from moment to moment within relations let alone among our relations, different parts of ourselves get triggered, or more consciously get acted upon.  As we get to know and accept one another in many respects, as Nils Christie proposed in his 1981 book Limits to Pain, we become less capable of pigeonholing what kind of person we are dealing with, in particular less capable of inflicting pain or punishment on them for being a certain kind of person.  In Christie’s terms, we become less able to punish (or for that matter elevate or reward) someone as that kind of person.  Placing limits on the pain or control over others we exercise entails individuating our relationships, both among and from moment to moment in each of our relations.  As Les Wilkins recognized, in matters of conflict resolution, it is how the direction of our relations shifts moment to moment—apart or together—here and now rather than there and then.  In my criminological career, I have most strikingly noticed this in the many relationships I have had with (ex-)prisoners.  In my first year as a student public defender in law school, I had had the uncomfortable duty of doing intake interviews with detainees, which of course, began with offense charged and prior record.  And so, by the time I met Fred Villaume who volunteered to teach a “project group” in my criminology class the spring quarter of 1971, I figured I no more wanted to ask an “offender” what s/he had done than I would ask anyone else I met about her/his personal past.  In Fred’s case, we eventually learned a whole lot about each other’s past, including his telling me, a year before he died, that he had shortly after we met killed a guy and his buddies to save me from being killed as a suspected narc.  If I am writing in support of a prisoner’s release, knowing about the “offense” matters.  Otherwise, even in long-term relations, prior record may no more come up for discussion any more than I would inquire freely into the past of any other friend, let alone acquaintance.  That is not to say that I make friends with all prisoners I meet; I have had unpleasant encounters among relations in all walks of life.  I do know enough to know that some of my friends fit the profile of the serious violent offender, and yet, at present, whether in or out of prison, are gentle, honest and empathic with others as they are with me.  It reminds me of what Shadd Maruna found in his 2001 study, Making Good: how ex-convicts reform and rebuild their lives, that those who made it after release found parts of themselves with others that they liked better than the parts associated with their incarceration.  It is not that (ex-)prisoners become different individuals; it is that they individuate, drawing on the parts of themselves that enjoy requited honesty, trust, respect and support.  This is individuation at a situational level.

                Situational individuation interacts with interpersonal individuation.  My parents, Harold B. and Pauline N. Pepinsky, taught me the lesson they sought to teach in their 1954 book, Counseling: Theory and Practice.  In a truly therapeutic relationship, therapists differentiate their own feelings, their own sense of right and wrong, of good and bad, of reasonability and sanity (which requires personal insight on their part), from those of their clients.  In all discourse, individuation of others from ourselves is essential for honesty, for building and affirming that relations are trustworthy as against telling others what you think they want or need to hear.

What in child trauma survivors are called “multiple personalities” exist more subtly in all of us.  I find it rare at best that what Robert K. Merton called “role sets” don’t exist—distinct parts of ourselves, things we feel and express, at home, at work, at play, in public…  And different parts of our past are triggered in some situations rather than others, with some people rather than others.   At all moments, individual behavior becomes action, a vector of feeling and expression which reacts to an interaction of relations past and present.  Whether within or among relations, any of us who has lived and feared even the horrors of sadistic ritual torture, or any grievance, may respond to offers of understanding, trust and acceptance in kind.  That change of attitude and direction is not a matter of learning a fast code of right and wrong, but of having one’s awareness and concern for the effects of one’s reactions to others awakened and returned.  In matters of conflict and human division (as I put it in a chapter of A Criminologist’s Quest for Peace, 2001, under books at www.critcrim.org), in the face of violence, empathy works, obedience doesn’t.  Empathy presupposes that at any moment, we individuate our circumstances and ourselves, treating one another as unique rather than as a defective or otherwise categorized, unitary individuals.

                Becoming safe to others entails becoming safe with others, entails a sense of belonging with and  being accepted by at least a single other person for being one’s honest self rather than having to defend one’s honest existence.  That in turn entails forsaking trying to change a whole person or personality, for coming to terms with matters at hand, which trust itself permits.  I see individuating ourselves and others as being moved by the force of human connection I call love, implying a give-and-take process of interaction I call peacemaking.  I see human interaction as a balance of that force against the force I call fear, when habituated or institutionalized I call violence, doing what we feel needs to get done, must be done, or minimally, should be done.  That includes individualizing social problems—reducing conflict and discord to separating, correcting, incapacitating, or eliminating entire individuals for their misdeeds.  In the field of criminology, we seek to suppress target behaviors by an array of physical and medical (from urinalyses to psycho-tropics) means of confinement, or in the extreme, extermination.  When confinement or medical suppression ends (professional relations end as well), recidivism is the individual’s “responsibility,” requiring further confinement or extended probation.

                Fortunately, individualization cannot entirely suppression individuation within controllers, their humanity.  And so among prisoners as among survivors of extreme childhood trauma I have known, moments of compassion and empathy among a range of professionals (other prisoners and students too) are recognized as catalysts for beginning to form safe and lasting sets of relations, to find “normal,” fulfilling lives.  Or coming out of prison, some create those lives in spite of the time they served—often a combination of the two.

                The problem with reshaping people as individual machine models is, as Newton tells us, entropy—distrust, secrecy, anger, depression, dissociation, manifestations of fear and human separation.  Each time we add an “evidence-based” program to (re)habilitate offenders as a group, we create failures we call recidivists or label relapsed.  In the 1970s, these failures in a wave of “exemplary” “diversion programs” were compounded as by three-strikes laws to make the world’s third highest incarcerator what we now call “mass incarceration.”  An expanded, increasingly for-profit privatized “corrections” industry is increasingly impervious to abolition, if ever it was.  Today US prison populations are falling some, but we are creating the human industrial fodder for future record incarceration rates.  In the past, as in the former Soviet region, the only way the upward cycle has been broken is by mass amnesty or clemency.  From stigmatizing to credentialing one another as by standardizing education, we in the US are locked tightly into a culture of individualizing our social problems and our successes…just not entirely.

                When we individualize, we treat one another as categories.  When we individuate, we engage in a process of mutual discovery, mutual learning, about issues and problems at hand, as in circle processes.  In this process that I call “peacemaking,” coming to terms is a journey with no pre-conceived end, except to build and requite trust.  The less time and attention we give to individualizing one another, the more time and room we have to individuate.  Love and peace, hal