Writing for The Huffington Post, Molly Gill of Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) asks a great question, “How would Jesus want us to punish?”
Scripture is filled with depicting God’s hatred for unfairly weighed measuring scales. Gill makes clear, “Those scales include the scales of justice used in our courthouses….. Mandatory minimum sentencing laws weight those scales unjustly.”
Sadly, these mandatory sentences apply to many nonviolent drug offenses. Gills says, “More than half of our federal prison population is serving time for drugs; in state prisons, it’s about one in five prisoners.” Mandatory sentencing has made America the world’s most incarcerated nation – holding 2.3 million in prison and jails.
Gill rightly writes, “The Book of James teaches that a true mark of our faith is caring for widows and orphans. Every time we lock up a breadwinner, we create a widow. Every time we incarcerate a parent, we create an orphan.” Prison Fellowship cares for prisoners and their families while Justice Fellowship urges legislators to reform the laws.
We lock too many people away and we still live in fear of crime. We have to work on changing the people while behind bars. As Justice Fellowship’s President Pat Nolan says, “There’s a huge difference between justice that punishes and justice that restores.”
Visit Justice Fellowship for more information on mandatory minimum sentencing.