we who bind.

{excerpt from a journal entry I wrote today…}

    The concept of incarceration as punishment doesn’t make sense to me.  It never has, and I doubt it ever will.  In fact, I do not wish it to.

     I can understand that wrongs need to be made right.  Every human being with breath in their body knows this.  That is what I live for.  But that a wrong done against society can somehow be made right by stripping a life of all purpose and locking it in a miserable cell is to me, utterly illogical.  If a man has harmed another man or wrought some great tragedy on society, let him, at the very least, have the opportunity to make it right.  Send him to a field, let him toil all day, let him pray all night.  Let him sit and learn and strive to better himself.  Let him work to earn and to give back all that he has stolen.  And if what he has stolen cannot be replaced, let him at least labor to fill with goodness the place on earth he has left empty. 

When we as a society, take a man who owes us a great debt and lock him in a cell and forget about his existence, we take his debt upon ourselves.  We deny him his God-given right to pay his own debt, and we inflict his great burden upon ourselves and our children.  In our desperate clamor to reclaim what has been taken from us and exact vengeance on the taker, we allow ourselves to lose even more – perpetually, over and over.  We who bind are also bound – by our own unforgiveness, fear, and the steep financial cost of keeping men in chains.  

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