“‘Our criminals need justice’ is a bottom-feeder mentality.” So stated Candace Owens in her now-deleted tweeted. Thought she deleted it (without comment), that sentiment is, unfortunately, all too common.
We hear it in those jokes about “prison justice” when someone assures us that a rapist or child-molester will “get justice” in the form of rape, beatings, or murder at the hands of other inmates. We heard it when a fellow inmate murdered Jeffery Dahmer.
But Candance Owens is wrong. “Our criminals need justice” is not a “bottom-feeder mentality.” It’s a biblical mentality and mandate.
The Mosaic Law is concerned about justice for both the criminal and the victim. Criminals have rights because they are human beings created in God’s image. That is why the Law required that the punishment fit the crime, prohibiting escalating and excessive violence.
“Eye for eye, tooth for tooth” was not a command for personal retribution. It was a control for the punishment meted out in a controlled, civil, and legal environment (a court). It means that the most a court may do is to require of the offender the equivalent value of what he took. That is, if a man takes your eye, you cannot cut off his head. In other words, “our criminals need justice.” That is why jokes about “prison justice” are wicked and ungodly. That’s not how justice works.
Our criminals do need justice. They should both receive justice for their crimes and receive justice by having their rights protected. “Our criminals need justice” is not a “bottom-feeder mentality.” It is a cry of love too often lacking in our world—and in a nation that claims it has “liberty and justice for all.”