Monday, May 26, 2008

"Attention must be paid."

I have been thinking about rehabilitation a lot recently. I am growing pessimistic about my muscles. A few days ago, I was transferring to my chair and my legs kind of failed me. They held me up, but would not lift me five inches into my chair. I was all but screaming out loud at them. I was screaming at them in my mind. Nothing worked.

That is not even the kind of rehab I mean; I am thinking about prisoner rehabilitation. I know there is no statute of limitations on murder (Thank you, Law & Order), but is there a time-frame when you can ignore the crime that a person committed or that they were at least convicted of? Especially if the convicted person seems remorseful and good and maybe not guilty.

Again, I have the Jesuits and their magazine to thank. America recently published a piece about the death of an elderly prisoner. The writer, it is clear, is in prison, too. It is also clear that prison is an awful place where rehabilitation is rarely on people's minds. But what brought a lump to my throat was the description of the author: "Jens Soering is a freelance writer. His third book, The Convict Christ: What the Gospel Says About Criminal Justice (Orbis, 2006), won first place in the category Social Concerns at the 2007 Catholic Press Association Awards. His fourth book, The Church of the Second Chance: A Faith-Based Approach to Prison Reform (Lantern), is forthcoming this month."

The Jens Soering I know (from reading newspapers) was convicted of killing his girlfriend's parents while he and the girl were college students. They then fled the country and when arrested he confessed.

I know that many questions remain about the trial even years later. He says he confessed only to save his girlfriend from being found guilty because she really did it. His trial attorney was disbarred and admitted being impaired during the trial, according to an article in The Virginian-Pilot.

I don't really care, though. There are two people whose lives were ended, and Jens Soering was convicted of that. I don't think we can ever forget that. I am sorry for him. It is wonderful that he found Catholicism and writes, but to ignore the killings ... The Jesuits really slipped up here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I completely agree. I felt the same way when I read that paragraph. We were at UVA when all that happened. It was horrific.

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