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Reaching Beyond the Binary to Find Humanity

The criminal legal system functions by separating acts of harm and violence into two opposed sides—“perpetrator” and “victim”—and lining up legal workers to vindicate one side’s rights to the exclusion of the other. This approach puts forth a scarcity model of justice, in which attending to harm is a zero-sum game. But if we wish to train our students to think holistically about justice, we must encourage them to appreciate the vast range of harms caused by the the criminal legal system.