by LaJuana Lampkins, Dwight, Illinois
People are so misguided about life inside the prison system. They tend to focus more on the fact that people have committed a crime, and as a result they must and should suffer.
The society turns its back. Prison authorities are given the leeway to abuse prisoners, sometimes to the point of death, and they don’t have to explain or answer for it to anyone. The laws do not constitutionally allow them freedom to punish excessively and beyond the guidelines. But society is trained to be vengeful, to hold animosity and resentment towards prisoners. Victims or families of victims are understandably human and feel anger. But two wrongs do not equal a right.
I, too, have questioned my own morality and heart. If my family were victimized by criminals I would find solace in the suffering, even death, of the perpetrators. But in light of my feelings, I had to recognize that I, too, would become as cruel, hateful and sick-minded as someone who offended me or my loved ones. I would feel as much a killer, a person of vicious heart as them.
I do not want the public to do anything except to try to remember we are all human beings and should depend more on the judgment and vengeance by God than ourselves. It is a challenge, a difficult development of trust in God that God will provide true justice. If we lack faith and trust in God we will dwell on our anger, our pain, our vengeance and our appetite to see the person tormented to their death. This force itself will affect our peace and tranquillity and turn our hearts to stone.
The system knows this. They take advantage of our weakness and use it to inflict pain, sorrow and death on the prisoner not for the victim, or the victim’s families, but for their own personal enjoyment, the enjoyment of the power and control they hold. While this may satisfy the bloody thirst of vengeance, it is not the true answer to our pain.
I am still working on my own spiritual development to deal with anger, vengeance and hate I feel for those who victimized my loved ones. I certainly do not want to imagine them living with comforts of life a free person enjoys. But I know God and the law do not approve of us becoming as evil a force as the offender.
Where prisoners suffer beyond the lawful terms of their conviction it is a violation of the law and an insult to God. Take a look inside and another look outside ourselves. If evil is found in both, then where is civilization and spiritual development to begin?