Trauma Can Make Victims Of Violence Into Perpetrators

I applaud the recent concern for victims of harm shown in the discussion on the impact of bringing back parole in Illinois. But if we are to move toward genuine healing for our communities, then we need to stop assuming a clear-cut division between perpetrators and victims of harm, who are often the same people.

As the saying goes, “hurt people hurt others.”

As an incarcerated woman, I am particularly attuned to the women in prison who are also victims of violence. In fact, studies and reports indicate that 98% of incarcerated females are survivors of trauma and violence; 90% have been physically abused by partners and family; and 80% have survived sexual violence. These survivors are among the people who need opportunities for parole.

Victim advocate Danielle Sered speaks for many when she says the state should offer more to victims than the perpetrators’ lengthy incarceration. More importantly, the state should support healing and trauma recovery as well as pathways home, like parole, which can motivate people in prison to reflect on the harm they’ve caused and transform violence into healing.

Karen McCarron, Logan Correctional Center, Lincoln

Chicago Sun Times

Letters to the Editor

November 13, 2021