HNewsWire-On January 1st, Alvin Bragg assumed the office of Manhattan district attorney. One of the new class of “progressive prosecutors” – criminal justice reformers who aim to reduce the number of people in prison – Mr. Bragg launched a spate of policy changes. Offenses like burglary and possession of certain weapons would be downgraded; other crimes like prostitution and resisting arrest would no longer be prosecuted at all. Weeks later, New York City witnessed a sudden surge in violent crime. Two police officers were killed on the job. Mr. Bragg had to announce a U-turn.
America has seen an explosion in violence since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The national murder rate increased by 29% between 2019 and 2020 – the largest single-year jump since 1905. That wiped out 20 years of progress on homicide. Data for violence in 2021 are still being collected, but the preliminary evidence suggests that homicide continued to rise, albeit at a less sharp rate. Among 22 large cities that have already reported, murders rose by 4% between 2020 and 2021.
As Americans try to make sense of it, some have blamed progressive policies and reformers like M. Bragg. These days Republicans are criticizing President Joe Biden for being soft on crime. They also see electoral rewards in attacking Democratic rhetoric to “defund the police” – as attempted unsuccessfully, in liberal cities like Austin and Los Angeles. But new evidence suggests that the actual blame may not lie with urban progressives.
New evidence, according to the Daily Mail, shows South American criminal tourists are rifling through posh American communities on home invasion rampages.
Traveling from South America, these criminals target multi-million dollar mansions in liberal-controlled regions with lenient criminal justice laws, using the US's immigration system for travel.
According to police around the nation, some of the criminal tourists come from Colombia and other South American countries. They've broken into homes in California, New York, Virginia, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, among other places.
A 2014 visa waiver program aimed at promoting tourism is being used by these professional thieves, according to law enforcement authorities. Automated software assesses if visitors need a visa in order to enter the country. It is known as the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).
The FBI nabbed a group in Virginia earlier this year that stole an estimated $2 million worth of items from homes owned by Asian and Middle Eastern families earlier this year. A large amount of high-value jewels and cash were stolen from those residences, according to authorities.
Because of Virginia's lenient bail regulations, the criminals were able to flee the nation with the stolen goods. A $1.2 million jewelry theft in Southern California was also linked to the thefts in the Carolinas, Georgia, Texas, and the South.
Criminal vacationers from Chile who broke into multi-million dollar houses and stole jewelry and cash were apprehended in Nassau County, New York.
Hillsborough, a San Francisco suburb where the average property value is $5.4 million, was the target of criminal tourists from Chile and Colombia. One of the robberies was recorded on video as the crooks ransacked a residence.
There is a "sweet spot" for professional thieves from outside the United States who are able to take advantage of a travel program and flexible criminal justice regulations that allow them to simply depart the country if caught.
Punishment is emphasized as the most effective means of deterring crime under punitive justice. Punitive justice seeks to make lawbreakers feel the agony of punishment and resolve to avoid it in the future, while observers resolve not to do illegal activities in order to escape similar treatment. In other circumstances, such as the death penalty, the person sentenced does not necessarily learn anything, but he or she is stopped from committing future crimes, and the criminal also gets what the acts "deserve."
Perhaps the easiest way to understand punitive justice is to contrast it with the other dominant ideology of justice: restorative justice. Restorative justice does not concentrate on punishing the criminal as much as it does on having the criminal make reparations for the crime in order to repair all parties involved: criminals, victims, and society as a whole.
Although neither phrase is used in the Bible, there are situations when both techniques are supported.
Some offenses (most notably murder—see Genesis 6:9, Leviticus 24:17, Exodus 21:12, and Numbers 35:30) were so vile under the Old Testament Law that the death sentence was deserved with no effort to redeem anything. After all, nothing could be done to "repair" the damage done to a murder victim or his loved ones. Some things are just unforgivable. Even the New Testament acknowledges the necessity for punitive justice, but reminds Christians that God has sent governments, not vigilantes, to carry it out. "Let everyone be subservient to the ruling authority." For there is no authority other than God's, and those that do exist were founded by God. As a result, anybody who opposes the authorities opposes what God has assigned, and those who oppose will face judgment. For rulers are not a threat to good behavior, but to evil. Would you be unafraid of those in positions of authority? Then do what is right, and you will gain his approval, for he is God's servant working for your benefit. But if you do anything bad, be wary, since he does not carry the sword in vain. For he is God's servant, an avenger who exacts God's wrath on the wicked" (Romans 13:1–4). Because the Roman sword was the principal method of execution at the period, "carrying the sword" would involve the death sentence.
In other cases, the Bible promotes restorative justice above punitive justice. For example, the law said in Exodus 22:1 that "if a man takes an ox or a sheep and kills or sells it, he should restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep." In this situation, the aggrieved party gets compensated, and the criminal is punished, but after it was all said and done, the thief was reinstated into society.
The focus in the United States is on punitive justice, but the penalty is frequently extended jail terms, which generate a whole other set of issues for society. In certain situations, jail terms might be substituted with restitution and useful community work, allowing the criminal to reimburse the injured party while simultaneously contributing to society. Far too frequently, the American system consists of either extended jail sentences or a "slap on the wrist" with no penalty or compensation.
Finally, the Bible recommends punitive justice for certain crimes and restorative justice for minor offenses when reparation may be achieved. Based on the nature of the crime, both techniques have a place.
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