Saturday, April 19, 2008


A man commits a terrible crime.  Maybe he was a thief who ruined many people's lives.  Maybe he murdered someone.  Anyway, whatever it is, he comes to a place of turn-around.  Maybe not spiritually, but he starts living a different way.  He gets a job that contributes to society.  He has a family and lives a normal "good life" for, lets say, twenty years. 

If he gets caught all this time later, do you think he should have to go to prison?  (Let's not get into legal stuff, I don't know legal stuff)
If yes, then why?  What is the purpose of prison?  Is it to "make him pay"?  Is it to make the victims feel vindicated?  Is it to rehabilitate the criminal?  

I was watching an old James Cagney movie and he had been a thief, but after eluding the police, he gave up crime and became a famous actor.  And it just got me thinking that it seems it would be  waste of time and resources to put him in prison at that point.  He had turned from his evil ways.  What would be the point?

What do you think?


  1. Tough question, Kay. As you know, if the man became a Christian, he more than likely would be convicted by the Holy Spirit to "come clean" about his crime.

    I think prison was intended to be both a punishment and a place of rehabilitation. It seems to have failed for the most part in the rehab department which is a tragedy.

    I suppose if the man you speak of rehabilitated himself, it would be hard to put him in prison. But if he committed murder or a crime of violence which remained unsolved, I think it should be known/solved, and determined if it was self-defense, etc., even if the only one he tells is a member of the family of the victim.

  2. Remember the woman in Texas who had become a Christian while in prison? She had been involved in some horrific killings with a band of people. She had truly gotten saved, ministered to others, etc. and friends tried to stop her execution. She herself understood why she had to be punished for what she did. Her testimony was terrific when she was executed. She said something about being punished by being sent to be with her Lord and Savior.

    I do think some consideration should be given for a person who changes his life, etc., but he still needs to be held accountable.

  3. Wow..I will have to think on this one. We are taught that every crime, misbehavior, or even good thing you do comes with a award..either punishment or reward. Then you look at the Lord and he does not really go by that system..we really do not get what we deserve..but we live on a earth where we have to have this system in place. I suppose it all comes to we forgive him? Does the victims forgive..or do they need him to pay? A lot of questions..sticky

  4. I'd say there still needs to be some restitution. If he truly rehabilitated himself, he'd want to set things right with the victims. If he does that, I say turn the other way.

  5. I just don't know either. I think he should be held accountable for the actions, because why should he get off just for getting away with it. ?. I really see both sides, but I lean toward the accountable side more.

  6. What you sow, you reap. I believe people have to be accountable for their crimes no matter how good they become after an escape. If society were to allow criminals to get off after escaping and becoming "good" people, I think more and more people would try to escape, would get their families and friends to help them, maybe commit more crimes just so they could turn "good". Escaping would become much more profitable for the criminal and much more dangerous for law enforcement. And there's still the principle of sowing and reaping.

  7. Great question Kay... I like what Dayle said, but it is a complicated question...

  8. Making restitution is Biblical, but does the taking of one life bring the other life back?

    Our do-gooder American beliefs often leave grace out of the equation. In that same Anglican church we heard an incredible story about a man who killed an entire family during acts of genocide, but was able to later help rebuild the village and make amends with the family. To me that is a testimony of what God can do and a life worth saving. What good would executing this man bring as he has been forgiven by the family and God.


I love to hear your thoughts!