Does God approve of prisons as a form of punishment?

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by bonniej, Nov 18, 2004.

  1. bonniej

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    Since we are a Christian nation is putting some one in prison a Biblical form of punishment? Does God tell us to imprison people when they have committed a crime. We know that when someone did something in the OT days that stoning was one form of punishment, and there was the story of Achen who disobeyed God by taking what God told him not to after the battle with AI and the Israelites were defeated. Because of his disobedience, God had him and his whole family killed by stoning and all of his possessions piled up and burned. Today we put people in prison for a crime and they stay there for years, being allowed to apeal again and again. My question is, is this Biblical? If not, then what form of punishment should we give. I myself think that caning would be a good form of punishment as I don't think it would have to be done but once. But I am curious to know what others think about this subject and if you think prison is the answer to the crime in our society today.
     
  2. Liz Ward

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    The Biblical norms are fining, corporal and capital punishment, not prison. I don't think you're about to get prison replaced with flogging though :D

    Liz
     
  3. williemakeit

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    IMHO, prisons in this country are not a form of punishment at all. Although she is not living in the style she is accustomed to, Martha Stewart is probably living better in 'prison' than a lot of folks are living on the outside. Of course, this is an extreme example.

    Under the guise of rehabilitation, the prisons in this country are really shams in the areas of punishment. I know that some will argue that simply the isolation from society is punishment; however, if that is the case, why are a large percentage of those coming out try so hard to get back in (repeat offenders). It is because the environment they run in on the outside is not that much different than the environment on the inside. As Liz stated, flogging will probably not replace our prisons, but I do believe it would be a lot more effective in a lot of instances.
     
  4. dianetavegia

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    And Martha Stewart made $33 MILLION yesterday on her stock. I heard she appealed and got 'her wine'. Do not pass go, do NOT collect $200. :eek:
     
  5. donnA

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    I'm not sure that you know very much about prisons.
    First, it is very different then living on the outside. Are you saying that living in prison is similar to your life? Then what makes you think it is similar to anyone elses life? Lights are on 24 hours a day, no shower curtains, no stall or door for the toilets. Food is unediable (wet bread, people cooking who do not know how and have never cooked in their lives), nowhere to sit that has a chair back, you never lean on anything unless you sit on the floor and lean on the wall. Before you can see your wife and children you are stripped searched(very detailed, not just taking off your clothes, need details?). You work for $1.25 a day, with which you must buy soap, deodrant, toothpaste and tooth brush, your own towel and washcloth, extra food because theirs isn't ediable, everything, they provide nothing but two changes of clothes. Plus your family must pay massive phone bills to hear your voice for 15 minutes.
    So tell me whose life is like this on the outside?
    You have no idea why people go back in, I saw nothing in your post to indicate you have any idea what so ever.
     
  6. av1611jim

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    Allow me to offer my $.10 worth. Not $.02.
    I spent 2 1/2 years in prison. So I do have a bit of an advantage on most here.
    In one sense, an argument can be made from Scripture. There were cities of refuge in OT times. These were for the "man slayers" to flee to for protection from the family members of their victims. If the "man slayers" were to ever leave that city, 'all bets were off' and they were vulnerable to the "revengers of blood". So in one sense these cities were a prison. Point one.
    Point two. Punishment. This one gets sticky. I agree that for the most part, there is no punishment in putting a man in prison. This can only be extended, however, to the majority who re-offend. A certain minority, (myself for example) do not re-offend, and come out of prison a better man. So what should be the 'best' solution?
    Although I do not like nor agree with most of Charles Colson's philosophies, I do agree with a couple things. He says we should focus more on restitution directly to the victims. Most guys in prison are druggies, drunks, thieves. To these, a proper punishment should be restitution. And that restitution should be Biblical. Two-fold, four-fold, five-fold, ten-fold. Whatever is decided on, it should be more than what was lost, and paid directly to the victim. For druggies or drunks, restitution should be in the form of community service directly to children who are victimized by these things, even if there was no direct victim, I am sure the county could find kids who are victims of these crimes. If the druggies/drunks are confronted personally with the effects of their actions, many will repent.
    In the matter of the violent offenders, i.e. wife beaters, or they who have assaulted others; they should first be publically caned. (I know this will not happen but its what should happen). Secondly they also should be made to do community service directly to victims of violence. Perhaps they should be made to serve victims in the form of a servant while the victim convaleces. (sp)
    Not sure about this one, but restitution is definitely in order.
    The most extremely violent, killers, should be executed speedily. They are molly-coddled to much in our society in the name of reform. Some monsters just cannot or will not be reformed. They should be given the service of a pastor who would give them the gospel, then they should be quickly executed. And it should be done semi-publically. Meaning, it should be done in the prison, with all inmates present. Rapists and child molestors would also fall into this category.
    That's my opinion. I think this would go a long way in reversing the trend in this country. We have been too soft for too long. If the anti-social knew the severity of the expected punishment, perhaps they would not be so quick to act out. Because the anti-social know that all they face is a "time-out" they have no fear.
    Rom 13 brings this out clearly. The wicked have no fear of the authorities therefore they have no fear of the consequences of their actions.
    Prison sometimes works. But it is not always the proper form of punishment for every crime.
    Sorry this got so long. It touched my heart.
    In His service;
    Jim
     
  7. gb93433

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    When I was in another country in Europe their national prison covered one city block.If a person was caught speeding, their fine would be 8 days loss of pay. If caught drunk driving it was 30 days loss of pay. If a second time it was 30 days in jail. For the third time they didn't know.

    Just recently some students came to me and asked me about a professor who taught a class where only four passed. I knew the students and not one of them was working hard. The top student in the class had a 96 percent average. While those who scored below a D thought the professor should have curved the grade.

    When I taught high school the biggest problems I had were the parents. Too often they refused to accept the poor performance of their child. I found most often that if I had a problem with a student I had an even worse problem with the parents. So often the parent of a problem student would discount me and tell me I was a poor teacher or their son or daughter would never do a thing like that. It was my students who won the competitions year afer year. The best students were the best disciplined. Seldom did I have problems with students. Hiwever if I did I called the parents. On one ocassion I called a parent and when we got ready to talk the parent started by saying, "My son will do whatever you want him to do." The boy shocked me when he did something wrong. I was as shocked as the parent. But the boy did something very stupid.

    Along with five other teachers we met with the parents of a student. After all the teachers mentioned the student's behavior in class the mother mentioned that he never does that at home implying we were the problem.

    The apple doesn't fall from from the tree.
     
  8. gb93433

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    av1611jim:

    I agree with you. When I was in Finland I was told the fine for stealing was three times what the person stole. 2/3 went to the victim and 1/3 went to the court. Crime was almost non-existent.

    Those I have known who were in prison have told me that most all of their decisons were made for them and that once the get out they find it hard to make a simple decision. Some have said that it was difficult to get a job and that it would have been easier to return to prison.
     
  9. donnA

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    This is true. When my son got home he was affriad to make basic decisions and would always ask me what to do, I helped him at first, helped him to reason out what needed to be done, helped him learn to make decisiosn on his own. I wanted him to learn to stand on his own.
    He has been out for a year and a half, and still ahs not gotten a decent job. Some will not hire him, some waht it to be 5 years after the crime. he is a very intelligent person and very capable of a lot. He is currently thinking of going back to collage.
    One time in prison was all it took for him, just like you said about yourself. He is so different now. I can see God busy in his life.
    Some people do not see loosing a few years as much of a deterant. No matter hwo much time they spend in prison they are not going to live straight.
    I'm sure you can tell us it is not the same as living on the outside.
     
  10. Pennsylvania Jim

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    av1611: [​IMG]

    Excellent post, thanks for that.

    The Biblical pattern does seem to be restitution.
     
  11. donnA

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    I'm not sure I would call this a christian nation. No prayer or God is school, or courtrooms. Our goverment makes decisions that do not reflect christian morals. Legal abortion, even that we need all this debate or same sex marriage. Other religions have more freedoms then christianity, and even promoted by state/federal goverment employees.
    I'm sure the list is even longer.
     
  12. Pennsylvania Jim

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    Our nation was founded on Christian principles.

    All nations, ours included, should follow Biblical principles in law and government. Anything else is sin.
     
  13. blackbird

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    1611Jim---good post--Biblical to the core!

    DonnA--tell your boy to hang in there! I use to preach at a State Pen---not long ago a fella drove up in the church parking lot---got out of his truck---walked up to me and said

    "Remember me??"

    "Of course, I do!" Man--we hugged each other's neck and shook hands---the dude is so happy!!

    The dude has a good job---house painting and the like----it had been 5 years since I saw him last---your boy can make it!!
     
  14. donnA

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    Should and do are two different things.
     
  15. donnA

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    Thanks David, it's always encouraging to hear of people who made it on the outside.
     
  16. The Rapture

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    I spent 23 years locked up and 81/2 years at La St Pen. It was rated in the top 10 worst prison in the world and the worst (#1) in this country when I was in it. Martha Stewart is a guest in a motel, compared to Angola. She has really lost alot more than you think though.
     
  17. williemakeit

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    I'm not sure that you know very much about prisons.
    First, it is very different then living on the outside. Are you saying that living in prison is similar to your life? Then what makes you think it is similar to anyone elses life? Lights are on 24 hours a day, no shower curtains, no stall or door for the toilets. Food is unediable (wet bread, people cooking who do not know how and have never cooked in their lives), nowhere to sit that has a chair back, you never lean on anything unless you sit on the floor and lean on the wall. Before you can see your wife and children you are stripped searched(very detailed, not just taking off your clothes, need details?). You work for $1.25 a day, with which you must buy soap, deodrant, toothpaste and tooth brush, your own towel and washcloth, extra food because theirs isn't ediable, everything, they provide nothing but two changes of clothes. Plus your family must pay massive phone bills to hear your voice for 15 minutes.
    So tell me whose life is like this on the outside?
    You have no idea why people go back in, I saw nothing in your post to indicate you have any idea what so ever.
    </font>[/QUOTE]I didn't mention it being similiar to my life. I have not robbed, murdered, raped, etc., etc., so I wasn't making a comparison to my life on the outside. Your description of life on the inside does nothing to persuade me any differently regarding my opinion. People not knowing how to cook remind me of those graduates of the famous culinary institute at Fort Dix, NJ. I ate a lot of the food they prepared while in the Army. Of course, this is a generalization, because every once in awhile, I did encounter a decent cook. I actually preferred the C-Rats. BTW, I was billeted in some barracks that also didn't have stalls for the toilets or a shower curtain (we enjoyed group showers). Massive phone bills paid by the families--I bet that makes them think twice about doing another crime. Sorry, donnA. Although I commend the burden that you have, I am sticking by my earlier post.

    I can appreciate Jim's reply. My favorite uncle did time, and he was bound and determine never to go back. When most come out, and go back to the 'old neighborhoods', the conditions are not much better than what they left.
     
  18. williemakeit

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    Interesting statistic:

    prisoner-to-population ratios:

    USA 519 per 100,00
    Russa 558 per 100,000
    South Africa 368 per 100,000
    Singapore 229 per 100,000
    Spain 90 per 100,000
    Germany 80 per 100,000
    Denmark 66 per 100,000
    Japan 37 per 100,000

    Source: Americans Behind Bars (Washington, DC: The Sentencing Project, September 1994), Table 10

    The source document is now 10 years old so there are probably updated figures. Our great Christian nation ranks up there with Russia.
     
  19. Johnv

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    We're not a Christian nation. That's a fallacy propogated by the hyperfundamentalist crowd, resulting in a black eye of the rest of us mainline evalgelical Christians. We're a nation of liberty in law.

    However, scripturally, there is no moral ban on imprisoning people for payment of their crimes.
     
  20. donnA

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    I'm not sure that you know very much about prisons.
    First, it is very different then living on the outside. Are you saying that living in prison is similar to your life? Then what makes you think it is similar to anyone elses life? Lights are on 24 hours a day, no shower curtains, no stall or door for the toilets. Food is unediable (wet bread, people cooking who do not know how and have never cooked in their lives), nowhere to sit that has a chair back, you never lean on anything unless you sit on the floor and lean on the wall. Before you can see your wife and children you are stripped searched(very detailed, not just taking off your clothes, need details?). You work for $1.25 a day, with which you must buy soap, deodrant, toothpaste and tooth brush, your own towel and washcloth, extra food because theirs isn't ediable, everything, they provide nothing but two changes of clothes. Plus your family must pay massive phone bills to hear your voice for 15 minutes.
    So tell me whose life is like this on the outside?
    You have no idea why people go back in, I saw nothing in your post to indicate you have any idea what so ever.
    </font>[/QUOTE]I didn't mention it being similiar to my life. I have not robbed, murdered, raped, etc., etc., so I wasn't making a comparison to my life on the outside. Your description of life on the inside does nothing to persuade me any differently regarding my opinion. People not knowing how to cook remind me of those graduates of the famous culinary institute at Fort Dix, NJ. I ate a lot of the food they prepared while in the Army. Of course, this is a generalization, because every once in awhile, I did encounter a decent cook. I actually preferred the C-Rats. BTW, I was billeted in some barracks that also didn't have stalls for the toilets or a shower curtain (we enjoyed group showers). Massive phone bills paid by the families--I bet that makes them think twice about doing another crime. Sorry, donnA. Although I commend the burden that you have, I am sticking by my earlier post.

    I can appreciate Jim's reply. My favorite uncle did time, and he was bound and determine never to go back. When most come out, and go back to the 'old neighborhoods', the conditions are not much better than what they left.
    </font>[/QUOTE]You said life inside was like life outside, so whose life? Who lives like that? Who has no privacy in the bathroom, can't shower without people looking? Who has to be affraid every word they say, everytime they look at someone, careful every minute of their lives.
    You ahve no heart for people hurting and in need of Jesus.
     

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