Justice. A controversial topic in that everyone shares many different perspectives of what is, and what is not ‘just’. Criminal justice can cause much more uproar; some may believe that criminals deserve no fair treatment, that they should be treated as dirt on the bottom of our shoes, that by being kept away and unheard of would be a good riddance to our society.
However, how would you feel? Perhaps some of these ‘criminals’ need a chance, maybe they can reform, for all one knows, their bad deed could simply be a cry for help. Yet we do not necessarily provide this.
Although the inmates get sent to prison partially in order to protect society from further harm, there is no evidence proving that everyone will benefit from it. Many people will be mentally harmed by being held captive, and once release can react in ways which may harm other members of society. The courts should take this into consideration, and instead of fitting the punishment to the crime alone, fit the punishment to the person also.
Another approach on how we should regard criminals, is with the act of forgiveness. There are many teachings in the bible about forgiveness and punishment. A fitting one would be the parable of the woman caught in adulatory: “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.- Jesus then went on to forgive then woman. This teaching suggests that none of us have the right to punish, because we have all sinned ourselves. Perhaps this should be premeditated whilst deciding how to treat ‘criminals’. Perhaps we should think for reasons as to why we are supernal enough to be the ones dictating now-helpless peoples lives.
Of course, this is very idealistic. Forgiveness will not always be the best cure and some people do ‘sin’ more than others. But we could at least try to spread i bit more love in the world, a chocolate spread sandwich will never be as good if the chocolate only covers one bit. And as Matthew says; ‘love your neighbour as you love yourself’ and that we should ‘love our enemies and pray for our persecutors’ love is all we need to make the world a better place.. and to find criminal justice.