I wanted to touch again on the subject of evil within the criminal/carceral world as many who have trouble understanding human evil have never been in a position to know criminals as they are among themselves, in prison or on the streets, where their free choice resulting from their human free will, reveals the evil behind so much of the criminal/carceral world.

One of the best sources to help understand this is a book I ask all people who are involved in prison ministry to read and study, Inside the Criminal Mind: Revised and Updated Edition (2004) by Dr. Stanton E. Samenow, a clinical psychologist who has worked with criminals for decades, wherein he addressed the myth that criminals come from certain types of neighborhoods, families, or other life circumstances:

“What is clear is that criminals come from a wide variety of backgrounds—from the inner city, suburbia, rural areas, and small towns, and from any religious, racial, or ethnic group. They may grow up in close-knit families, unstable homes, or foster homes. They may be grade school dropouts or college graduates, unemployed drifters or corporate executives. In most cases they have brothers, sisters, and next-door neighbors who grew up under similar circumstances but did not become criminals.

“Despite a multitude of differences in their backgrounds and crime patterns, criminals are alike in one way: how they think. A gun-toting, uneducated criminal off the streets of Southeast Washington D.C., and a crooked Georgetown business executive are extremely similar in their view of themselves and the world. This is not to deny individual differences among criminals in their aesthetic tastes, sexual practices, religious observance, or favorite sports teams. But all regard the world as a chessboard over which they have total control, and they perceive people as pawns to be pushed around at will. Trust, love, loyalty, and team-work are incompatible with their way of life. They scorn and exploit people who are kind, trusting, hardworking, and honest. Toward a few, they are sentimental but rarely considerate. Some of their most altruistic acts have sinister motives.” (p. 12)

And, in reference to drug or alcohol use as a determinant Dr. Samenow writes: “The criminal is far more addicted to a way of life than to a particular substance.” (p.xvii)

This is a very accurate description of the personal narrative within the criminal/carceral world.