Thread: You will participate in a thought experiment for this discussion by allowing biblical thinking to serve as a blueprint for criminal justice practices, imagining a system that administers justice through restoration rather than retribution.

First, we need to rethink biblical law. Set aside the notion of biblical law as strict rules and punishments meant to deter crime and understand it better as instruction, warning, and guidance intended to imbue wisdom and discernment, leading to life-giving principles of justice. The majority of legal teaching in the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) favors reconciliation between the offender and the victim. Remedies for more serious crimes (felonies) included capital punishment but excluded confinement (incapacitation)- much different from today’s mass incarceration trend. According to biblical thinking, restitution is the appropriate remedy for lesser crimes.

Restorative justice closely resembles biblical thinking since it focuses on the wrongdoer and the wronged: the victims, offenders, family members, the community, and others. Those involved in or by the offense identify the harms, needs, and obligations to bring healing- to make things right. Restorative justice starts with the victim’s needs broadening to the others involved. Like biblical thinking, restorative justice does not absolve offender responsibility or require victim forgiveness. 

Describe possible resolutions to the following three crimes by applying the above-described principles of restorative justice.

  1. A young mother in a rural community drives her car near a forest area, throws her infant down the side of the road bank, and drives away. An elderly couple living nearby hears the infant’s cries, the wife calls 911, and the husband searches for and finds the baby alive and well. 
  2. A respected owner and founder of a well-established funeral home in the community retires, leaving the business to his son. The son gambles with customer money for headstone and grave marker orders, driving the business into bankruptcy. 
  3. A married man and father to two precious little girls starts an adulterous affair and murders his wife and daughters to begin his new life. 

The student will post one thread of at least 400-word minimum/500-word maximum, demonstrating course-related knowledge in response. For each thread, students must support their assertions with at least 3 scholarly citations in APA format. Specifically, 1 citation will refer to the course materials, 1 citation will refer to the Bible, and the third may refer to a scholarly article published within the last five years.

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