Shalom! A Journal for the Practice of Reconciliation is a quarterly publication of the Brethren in Christ Church. Its mission is to educate and stimulate Christ-like responses to the needs of society by providing biblical, theological, sociological, denominational and personal perspectives on a variety of comtemporary issues.
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Winter 2016, "Criminal Justice Reform"
Sometimes it is hard to balance the kind of justice required by the criminal justice system (or the kind of justice that requires people to take responsibility and accept consequences) with mercy that understands the possibility of mitigating circumstances and takes them into account. So often it seems like there is very little mercy; instead, there is revenge, retaliation, retribution, and ongoing judgment, in stark contrast to scriptural blessing giving to "the merciful." In our rush to judgment and condemnation, do we forget that sometimes we ourselves might need to rely on the mercy of others? The lack of mercy sometimes shown to people who have committed crimes is just one issue facing the criminal justice in the United States. There are increasing calls at the highest levels of government for reforms in the system that address the inequities, cruelty, and racism inherent in the system. This edition of Shalom! comes at those issues from a variety of perspectives, including the parent of a son in prison, a college student studying politics, and an advocate for criminal justice reform. Mercy is a common theme.