Source: (2004) In Peter Sedgwick, ed., Rethinking sentencing: a contribution to the debate. A report from the Mission and Public Affairs Council. London: Church House Publishing. Pp. 38-49. Downloaded 16 September 2005.

This chapter shows how, by knowingly granting licence to prisons to remove responsibility from offenders in custody, and by ensuring that the courts have no jurisdiction to require prisons to use time in custody purposefully, society demonstrates a hypocrisy that ill serves victims and others damaged by crime. The chapter goes on to identify the peculiar responsibility of the Church to address this under the mandate Christ gave, that we fail to love him where we fail to love the prisoner. Perhaps we might recognize that injunction better if it were rephrased to read that our exclusion of the prisoner reflects our exclusion of Christ. These claims and the language, including the word ‘amok’, are perhaps dramatic, and may offend by appearing to sweep much that is good and reforming away with what is agreed to be rotten. They may also be thought to lack realism. This chapter suggests that we cannot compromise. (excerpt)

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