There is a prison program called “The save program.” It is a program where the families of murdered victims meet with the killers of their loved ones. It is an attempt to release the anger and hate and start the healing, forgiveness and remorse process. The courts do not concern themselves with how the families feel, or struggle to cope with their pain, after the verdict. The law is simply about “revenge.” We call it “justice,” because it is a nice word that sounds right.
Holding in anger, bitterness and hate, can eat away at the loved ones of the victim like a cancer. There is no peace of mind. Coming face to face with the person who caused unbearable pain, allows both parties to remember the memory of the person who was taken away with such violence. Every situation is different. Every story has it’s own explanation. Murder is a horrendous act of inhumanity. But it does happen and it’s been going on since Cain and Abel.
Not all murders are cold-blooded and sadistic. Some happen during the heat of passion. Some are more accidental than deliberate. Others are committed by a person other than the person accused. Anyone who is with a person who commits a killing, will be sentenced as a killer for being with the killer. That person did not commit the killing, but is treated as the killer.
Some killers may be psychopathic and have no conscience, or remorse for their actions. Murder is a human act and human beings who kill, are really no different than any one of us. We are all capable under the right conditions to commit a murder. None of us want to think that we could take another life. When our Government orders killing in combat, even the most gentle and non- violent person, will turn killer.
Our laws view justice as taking an eye for an eye, but Jesus told us to turn the other cheek and to love our enemies. He also told us to forgive 7 times 77. This does not mean that those who murder should be freed without punishment.
The families of the murdered loved one should have the right and opportunity to speak to the convicted person. They should be allowed to ask questions and discuss feelings. Anger and resentment festers if not released. The families of these murdered victims, should have a say in the type of sentence that should be served.
After a few years in prison, the families should be able to decide if the killer should be given a chance at parole. It should NOT be only at the hands of criminal justice officials who play God. They are not the ones who were affected by the crime. Life in prison with no parole, may as well be a death sentence. One human life is taken and another one is taken by the law. Two lost lives does not bring back the victim. Soldiers come back from war where they were ordered to kill, and yet they most likely never think of killing again.
Many killers are full of remorse and regret for what they have done. They must live with the nightmare of their actions every day of their lives. They have detached themselves from the past in order to stay sane. Never being given hope to make up for their crime, does not make us a country of humanitarians. Each case should be evaluated on the basis of how the inmate has taken responsibility for his/her actions.
Judging “all” killers as psychopathic maniacs can be an abuse of judgment. “We have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Because of our jump to justice, and the powerful urge of prosecutors to win convictions at all cost, we also are guilty of imprisoning thousands of “innocent” people. Once these people are “wrongly convicted,” it is close to impossible for them to get true justice. They spend years in prison trying to prove their innocence. In the mean time the real killers roam free.
If a family of a murdered victim believes the convicted killer is innocent of the crime, or the family has come to a point of forgiveness, the family should be given a say in the punishment. The courts decide everything without concern of what the families think should be done. This is not complete justice.
The families should have a bigger part in how the sentence should be served. When the courts have the final say and send a person to prison for life, they lock the door, and throw away the keys. Is that what we should consider Justice? The word “Justice ” is to make right, what has been made wrong. It is not the act of making final a decision with no hope for change.