Criminal Justice

Book Review: Break Every Yoke: Religion, Justice, and the Abolition of Prisons by Joshua Dubler and Vincent W. Lloyd

[1] After years of activism and protests, the simple statement “Black Lives Matter” became more than a hashtag or a chant. It made the leap from the streets to homes, offices, and institutions. It became part of our personal conversations and our national conversation. Even those who react negatively cannot deny it or make it […]

Review of Good Punishment? Christian Moral Practice and U.S. Imprisonment (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2008).

[1] In her recent and important book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in an Age of Colorblindness (reviewed in this issue), attorney Michelle Alexander calls for a movement on par with the civil rights movement of the mid-twentieth century in order to overturn the damage caused by the unprecedented incarceration of large portions of […]

A Review of Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, New York: New Press, 2010.

​[1] The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world; more people are incarcerated in this country, as a percentage of the population, than in any other nation.[1] The prison population in the U.S. has quadrupled since 1980.[2] Currently, 2.2 million people are incarcerated in prisons and jails in the U.S.[3] In terms […]

Review of Compassionate Justice: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue with Two Gospel Parables on Law, Crime, and Restorative Justice. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2012.

[1] The very heart of Christopher Marshall’s latest book, Compassionate Justice, explores two beloved parables in which the main characters are “moved by compassion” to show mercy and do justice. As with Beyond Retribution, Marshall eloquently juxtaposes detailed exegesis with insight into the theory and rich religious underpinnings of restorative justice in modern legal systems. […]

Response to Professor Levad’s Review of Good Punishment?

[1] Whenever an author’s work is reviewed by an academic peer, a measure of collegial respect and thanks should be registered. This is so because the art of the book review (when offered with integrity, sincerity and a good critical eye) advances important discussions and debates related to human survival, justice seeking and flourishing. I […]

Review of Alex Mikulich, Laurie Cassidy, and Margaret Pfeil, The Scandal of White Complicity in US Hyper-Incarceration: A Nonviolent Spirituality of White Resistance, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. 219 pp.

[1] The Scandal of White Complicity in US Hyper-Incarceration presents a rare, unflinching, and provocative confrontation of White Catholic complicity in the contemporary U.S. scourge of mass incarceration. Catholic theologians Alex Mikulich, Laurie Cassidy, and Margaret Pfeil (after an incisive foreword written by Sister Helen Prejean of Dead Man Walking fame) offer with this text […]

A King’s Wit, the People’s Judgment, and a House Harmonious: Three Models of Early Christian Criminal Justice

Dismal, Preliminary Considerations [1] Eager to be useful to the church, biblical scholars sometimes forget the difference between interpretation and shopping.[1] And so it was as I rummaged through the writings of the New Testament looking for the ideal system of criminal justice. I was hunting for bargains. I wanted straightforward answers. I wanted the […]

Self Defense?

[1] The American law of self-defense, as a general rule, requires that a defender who kills show that she reasonably feared that she was in imminent threat of serious bodily injury or death. This rule embodies two important understandings consonant with Christian views of human nature and violence. One is implicit in the requirement that […]

Whether Lawyers, Too, Can Be Saved

[1] In 1525, Assa von Kram, a professional military officer, asked Martin Luther a question that had been weighing on his conscience: if I want to be a good Christian, do I have to quit my job as a soldier? Assa had good reason to be concerned – didn’t Jesus, after all, say that his […]