But I believe two things: (1) as a nation and community we can and must do MUCH better than we have, for failing to do better will lead to the collapse of our civilization. (2) Even though we can never act or discern with perfect justice, we must EVER seek to do so.
My view of the justice system is very diverse. I am the widow and wife of retired law enforcement professionals and the mother of a son and step-son who have been incarcerated. I find the current situation dangerous for everyone because when the majority of citizens lose faith in their government’s fairness and lose hope of successfully living with the rules, then chaos inevitably results. In the end, we must submit to the rule of law for civilization to exist, which only happens when we believe we can trust the rule of law.
Secondly, as a Christian I read in many passages of Scripture God’s clear and insistent directives to act justly with mercy while walking in humility. As a church and as a culture we are failing at this for all citizens. Because none of us is safe unless all of us are safe, we must work towards this for all our days on earth.
Let me be clear. Justice is a difficult goal -- challenging to the point of being impossible to achieve perfectly. People are just too broken and healing too hard to expect folks to either weigh consequences or restrain selfish impulses on a persistent basis. And these problems affect ALL along the spectrum: from those who experience the pain of crime, to law enforcement, to medical personnel and social workers, to school personnel, to prosecutors, lawyers, judges and juries, to probation & parole and Department of Corrections staff who we expect to stand between us and those whose brokenness pose a danger to us, and including those convicted of crimes especially as they return to our communities and families AND includes the families, neighbors, coworkers and friends of all these folks. Folks, that is all of us!
The more I work across the various silos affected by and affecting crime and the legal system, the more I see each crime and failure as a pebble (or boulder) plunging into our lives with ever widening ripples of damage that threatens to swamp all our boats. Join the fight today. Prison Fellowship has many portals to grow in understanding and connect with ways to work effectively for justice that restores.