Societal Grace in Criminal Justice: A Theological Perspective on Probation and Parole Policies
Reintegration into society has long been a problem for ex-felons. The United States has one of the highest recidivism rates, with over three-quarters of ex-felons returning to prison within five years of their original incarceration. Ex-felons face court costs, oppressive policies, and implicit bias from employers and other community members when they reenter society after incarceration. This paper considers U.S. probation and parole policies under which they must live through a Christian lens of grace. It considers how two aspects of Christian grace, incongruity and non-circularity, could define a concept of societal grace for ex-felons reentering society. If our political institutions could view ex-felons through this lens of grace, we could begin policy discussions about how to fully reaccept as free and equal members of society ex-felons whom our system currently leaves at the margins.
Thomas Mason Grist is a member of the class of 2018 of Washington and Lee University.Capstone; [FULL-TEXT FREELY AVAILABLE ONLINE]