Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Criminal Justice Reform?

It is billed as that, as this article from the San Diego News about sending more criminals to local jurisdictions rather than to state prison, and this one from the San Francisco Chronicle about changing the three-strikes sentencing; as well as this older effort to abolish capital punishment by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and all indicate a moving away from incapacitation as a criminal deterrent.

A criminal in prison won’t be harming the innocent directly—though if he can get access to a cell phone he can indirectly—and capital punishment removes the particularly horrible criminals from their earthly life and the possibility they may repeat their horrors, as well as providing the deep stimulus facing death can have on seeking redemption.

Unfortunately, too many policy makers—even among Catholic leadership—seem driven by a certain cloudiness of mind, leading them to adopt a pacifistic approach to evil, which renders it supremacy on the ground; rather that a vigorous response to evil, which can render it impotent.