As the incarceration rate has soared, prisons have become big business and the USA has surged into first place in the race to incarcerate the highest percentage of their citizens maybe it is just becoming harder to ignore the needed reforms. As more and more families are touched by out-of-control mandatory sentencing and an increasingly politicized system of prosecution that are overwhelming funding resources, the foster care system, and the extended families trying to supply a safety net for children caught in problems not of their own making.
And having "paid their debt to society" these folks are coming out of prisons and jails with a 30% or less likelihood of joining the ranks of the gainfully employed, tax-paying, society contributing in communities in the free world.
It is all very scary and frustrating for everyone caught up in the current system from perpetrators to victims and the families of both, from prosecutors to judges, from law-enforcement personnel to prison staff to probation and parole office. There are a rather stunning number of people being affected by these most public of broken laws and broken commandments.
Humans rank ourselves. Even within prison populations there are hierarchies of "badness" and we in the free world have an easy time feeling "better than" those whose sins and crimes are so very public.
Fortunately for us all, God values, loves, and longs for relationship with each and every one of us.
I believe that the more we err or sin or cheat or fail to do the good we should, the more we become convinced of our own worthlessness and the more difficult for US to conceive of God being interested or willing (or even able) to care about and for us. Though we may give upon God, God never gives up on us.
Here is the really important part. In Roman's 5:6