Justice Redefined

It took months to do the first six questions. It took another few months to do ten more and it took another month to answer another six. Then it took two days to answer the last ten. Not sure why the emotional toll made such a weird pattern but there it is. Maybe it was the picture I received, or the emotional outpouring I finally allowed myself to feel. Maybe because it was time and I was done with it hanging over my head but it is finished. The inventory is 32 horribly invasive and important questions long and it dives into the what’s, why’s and how’s of the purpose and hopes for victim offender mediation.

It’s no joke. They want to understand why you want to do this thing. The mediator wants to understand your motives before they let you in the room with the guy. They want to understand if you’re realistic about what can and cannot be accomplished in a single day or meeting. They want to know what you know, what you feel, what you want. In part, it is to ensure that the person participating won’t leave more harm in the end. In part, it’s because they want to make sure your motives aren’t twisted and you don’t end up trying to kill them. In part, it’s because they want to make sure it’s as productive as possible. All that to say is that it isn’t easy.

None of this process is easy. It’s no easy thing to find Justice, but if it was it wouldn’t be justice. I believe that Justice is about balance. It’s a balance between punishment and rehabilitation. It’s a balance between giving the victim time to heal and giving the offender a chance to change. Balance is never easy and I don’t know where that balance can be found.

I do know where it’s not.

Justice is not found in revenge or retribution and because of this I know that Justice is not in the death penalty. I know that Justice isn’t in someone doing 20 years for weed. Justice isn’t in white rapists being released after only doing a few months in jail. I know that Justice isn’t found in the current state of our prison system. So in my case, for the murder of my brother, Justice can only be found when I participate in the system and change it. Justice is only in the balance between understanding that the person who killed my brother is made in the image of God and that, sometimes, obviously, that image is fucked.

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