By now you would have observed that my last few articles were on crime. I am not a criminologist but I believe crime will continue to become an issue in our country because we are not addressing the root causes of crime.
If the crime is reduced and criminals are caught and convicted and sentenced to jail, what should we do with those criminals when they are released? Do they deserve a second chance?
This is really a tough question. Some may argue that everyone deserves a second chance while others may argue that criminals do not deserve a second chance because they may repeat the same act once they are released from prison.
Personally, I think it depends on the nature of the crime that was committed. As I reflect on this while I write, if someone were to murder any of my friends or family members, I don’t know what I would do. What would you do? Would you give that person a second chance?
Do non criminals want a second chance?
Some of us do not commit criminal acts but we do commit other acts and want a second chance. There are some married men and women who have cheated on their spouses and many of them want a second chance with their spouse after they are exposed or confessed. Some employees who were on probationary period but the employers were not satisfied with their work will ask for a second chance. Some employees may even steal from their employer and may want their employer to give them a second chance. Some students who failed a test will want a second chance from their teacher. Some children may have done some inappropriate things but they want their parents to give them a second chance. Some friends and family members may betrayed you and when you find out, some will want you to give them a second chance. Every election period, the politicians want you to give them a second chance.
The point I am trying to make is that all of us want a second chance. God gave Jonah a second chance to go to Nineveh. Do you think then that since we want a second chance, we should give convicted criminals a second chance?
Do convicted criminals deserve a second chance?
Are we hypocrites for wanting a second chance but yet don’t think the convicted criminals deserve a second chance?
There are some persons in prison for shop-lifting. Do they deserve a second chance?
There are some people who are in prison for drinking and driving. Do they deserve a second chance?
There are some people in prison for murder. Do they deserve a second chance? I think it depends. If someone premediated to kill someone, I don’t think they deserve a second chance. If someone kill multiple people, I don’t think they deserve a second chance. If someone kill someone in self-defense or kill someone due to a car accident, I think they deserve a second chance provided they receive counselling.
There are other crimes such as rape, abuse, assault, battery, embezzlement of funds, use of drugs, burglary and robbery. Do the persons who committed these acts deserve a second chance?
I know the TCIG launched a Chance for Change initiative in July 2019. I think this is a great initiative but there is still concern right now about given people a second chance especially if there were no programs to transform individuals. It is expected that Chance for Change will implement a number of reform programs.
God gave us a second chance when he sent his son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins. Don’t you think then we should give others a second chance? Of course, it is easy to say this until you are a victim of crime.
I think most people deserve a second chance but if you are given a second chance and you have demonstrated no changes, then it will be very difficult to convince others for a third chance.