Monday, December 31, 2012

Good Night Justice, Good Luck Reform

As Isaac Newton observed long ago, a body in motion tends to stay in motion. A corollary might be that what’s true of physical bodies is also on the Internet. And so it’s taken me longer than I originally intended to wind down this blog.

At the end of February this year, I expressed my intention do so. After 3 1/2 years, I felt the sense of a blog’s ending. Now, at year’s end, I’m making one last post before putting Piercing the Panopticon on the shelf.

The goals I set for myself have largely been achieved. In September 2010, I summarized them in a post titled simply “Why I blog.”

The foremost goal was to seek ways to resolve social conflict that point beyond the prison paradigm. Consequently, one of the recurring themes of the blog has been alternatives to incarceration. I will be seeking other platforms to pursue this further.

My other goals for the blog were much more directly achievable.

One goal was to showcase my subject matter knowledge of criminal justice by writing about topics such as mens rea, mandatory minimum sentences, and juvenile vs. adult crime. I gained this knowledge first as a law student, then later as a legislative counsel and program specialist in state government. And I intend to use it by teaching in a criminal justice program at a college or university.

I also sought to give voice to the value of prison ministry in keeping hope alive for people in prison. My active role as a board member in Prison Congregations of America continues and is also directed toward this goal. I’m seeking to engage more fully with the person of Jesus Christ — and empower others to do so as well.

Finally, I tried to have fun by enjoying writing for its own sake about topics I’m passionate about. That is why, for example, I tried to close with a flourish with a month of Harry Potter-influenced posts on criminal justice subjects. To be sure, this made for some highly idiosyncratic writing. Harry Potter and Alexis de Tocqueville are admittedly an unlikely duo.

Yet people seemed to find this blog through Web searches nonetheless. From December 15, 2008 through tonight, I wrote 346 posts and was the recipient of two guest posts from friends. For those 348 posts, there have been over 10,425 page views.

When I have identified another blog platform, I shall post a link on this one. For now, I would simply refer interested readers to my Twitter account, @areteave.

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