Lunar Lullabies from a Silver Siren

Poems, short stories, and musings from the lady known as Silver.

Manna in Exodus

“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heave for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not.”
-Exodus 16:4

For those of us who have already come out of the bondage of Egypt, there is only the final exodus standing between us and our Canaan. We all know the story of Pharaoh, the Israelites, the Ten Plagues and the parting of the Red Sea. But how many of us really focus on the Exodus?

This people are the nation that God told Abraham would come from his loins. There is not a doubt in my mind that God could have marched Moses and the rest of them right on into the Promised Land without spending longer than necessary in the deserts. However, God knows our nature even better than we do sometimes. Before the rebellions, before the fear, before the real whining started, God said this – “I will give you enough for one day at a time to see if you will do what I say, to see how much you trust me.”

We often remind ourselves and those around us that God is not some genie in a bottle to come at our beck and call, granting us the desires of our heart in all of their sordid shades. It seems that so much of it started with the Israelites themselves. They cried out to God from their bondage, crying for freedom, and obviously expecting to fall into the lap of luxury. It wouldn’t surprise me if some of them were hoping that the Egyptians would be forced to play the role of the slave, God turning the tables to place them on top and their oppressors in the position they had suffered in for generations.

But that is not the God we serve. He always has and always will desire a real relationship with His people. And you know that genuine affections, trust and love cannot be bought. The Exodus was more than a group of rebellious people that wouldn’t listen to their God; Exodus is a story about that same God proving Himself to be Who He said He was, bit by bit and day by day. He had already proven that He could work mighty miracles on their behalf, but a strong man who can win a fight is not necessarily a compassionate man or a generous provider.

Every relationship with God starts with small acts, baby steps of Faith as it works to stretch its newly developing muscles and finally stand on its own two feet without anyone or anything else to hold on to. That is how Faith must develop, and we learn to trust and to love God in our own time by seeing Him work in our lives or the lives of others. If God carried us through every battle and ever storm that came out way, how would we ever get stronger? Not strong in the sense that we no longer need Him, but strong in the sense that we can know fight our battles with Him, taking our rightful place in Christ. For we are the righteous, and there is no other way we can walk successfully unless it is by Faith.
Therefore, after freedom from Egypt, we must fight in every area of our life to reach that place of abundance which we have been promised. For Christ came that we might live life, and live it more abundantly. That abundance is meant to permeate through every aspect of our lives. We are meant to be abundant in love, in time, in patience, in beauty, in talent, in generosity, in thankfulness, in kindness, in laughter, in joy, in strength…not just in wealth. But each area of our life, every miniscule that is to reach that place of abundance must first go through the desert and be brought under the loving and guiding wing of God. How long each aspect of our life takes to get to that place all depends on two things. First, how much bondage it experienced in Egypt; and second, how much of it we give over to God. The parts of our lives that were most enslaved to our flesh can take the longest to cross over the Jordan unless we are willing to completely submit them to God to deal with. Even if we struggle with that trust and belief, that does not keep God from being who He is. He will meet us right where we are, taking what little trust we do have and turning it into a miracle, bread that is just enough for the moment we are in right now.

The Israelites as they were at this point would not have taken Jericho. They feared a normal fight with the giants of the lands. How would they have reacted to the simple order to march around this massive fortress that was all but impenetrable? Exodus is not a punishment, but a necessity. It is in this place of dryness and lack where the rebellion and doubt dies off. It is this time of wandering where God spends time with us and builds those much needed bonds of trust, faith and love. So, beloved, whatever part of your life is in Exodus right now, fear not. You are right where you need to be. You may not be ready for Jericho right now, but today, God gives you the bread of heaven for your spirit. It is what you do with the little that shows God that you are ready for the much.

Ex Umbra Teaser #5

Well, loves, thank you for coming along with me on this little ride. Unfortunately, this will be the final teaser until the work is completed, but if you liked what you read, please share it with others. Stay tuned for other works and details!

Eclipse followed Lycoris as far as the hallway, where the young woman took off running down the hallway as delicately as she could, managing to make the effort look rather graceful. A man and a woman entered from the opposite end, a pile of towels and other items between them, so Eclipse made her way to the other side, trying not to undo the saree as she moved. While tight, it wasn’t anywhere near as restricting as she thought it might be. Her hands, felt along the fabric, feeling how soft and smooth it was. Her arms, however, were very much exposed, and she wondered just how Lycoris was managing to keep so warm. She watched the man and woman enter, another four people carrying a fresh tub, water sloshing in it as they made their way down the hallway as well.

“It seems the pins aren’t all she forgot,” a deep voice behind her said, causing her to jump a little.

She turned around to find Lycoris practically on top of her, Aither standing behind her in a vibrant red outfit today. He was holding another bit of fabric, much smaller and a deep violet color. Lycoris quickly showed her how to open the bent bits of metal, a bright bead securing it in place as she placed one at her hip and another at her back.

“Now you don’t have to worry about it falling,” she smiled.

“Or keeping those arms cold,” Aither added as he spread the piece he was holding and walked forward to drape it over Eclipse’s shoulders. “That should keep off the cold until winter has set in.”

She looked up at him, something about his presence overwhelming her as she nodded, muttering thanks before looking at his Resma. They billowed out like a cloud around him, the red and green balancing beautifully with his choice of outfit for the day.

“Are all of you so concerned with how you appear?” she found herself asking, the words escaping before she even thought to hide them. Eclipse struggled not to fidget, which became easier when he smiled a little.

“Some more than others,” he answered, nodding at Lycoris, who took the gesture as a dismissal and waved goodbye before scampering back down the hall to where she and Padma had slept. “You, of all of us, should know that the Kageshi are no different in that regard. And you may speak freely with me. There is no need to hold anything back, I promise you.”

He extended a hand towards the doors leading outside and Eclipse started to walk with him.

“That may be so, but there is at least some meaning in the concern,” she replied, pausing when he opened the door so that she could pass through into the bright sun of early morning. “We color our hair and skin so that we might blend in better with the night and be less noticeable during the day.”

“Because? Why is that so important.”

“The Beasts, of course,” she stated, feeling as though she were explaining things to a child.

“Exactly,” he replied as they continued their stroll. He waved at a group that were cooking something in a patch of cleared land to the left, the children running up to obtain a pat on the head before returning where they came. “So, I ask you, if you did not fear the Beasts, how would the lives of the Kageshi be different?”

The question stopped her in her tracks as she really thought of the question and the implications. An easier question by far would be what would be the same. He stopped and turned to face her, a smile painting his face as she felt very keenly that she was the child having something explained to her.

“We are concerned with our appearances merely because we can be. Sometimes we choose to wear more vibrant colors. Do you remember what color I wore yesterday?”

She thought for a moment of their first brief meeting at almost this exactly spot.

“Tan, like buck skin.”

“What you will learn, dear one, is that our life is ruled by nothing other than our own choices, to a great degree. Sometimes those choices are poor, and we must pay the consequences. It may seem like a small difference, but you will see the way it affects how you live from this day forward, should you choose to go through the ceremony.”

“What is the ceremony, exactly?”

He turned back around, and Eclipse took a few steps forward to keep pace with him again.

“It will be your rebirth into this society, and as you probably suspected, when you cast a shade for the last time.”

Her eyes drifted down to stare at her shade where it stood on the ground, avoiding every other person it may have come in contact with, even to the point of keeping to the eastern side of her body to avoid where Aither was on her right.

“It is your decision, and I will not try to say anything to dissuade you or encourage your decision. We can hold it as early as this afternoon if you so choose. I just thought it would give you something to think about if we waited until after Padma’s reconfirmation. We must see if she really has repented and is willing to change after her time amongst the Kageshi.”

“She mentioned that a few times. Is there really a chance that she would be sent back?” Eclipse felt an anxiety creep up within her, knowing that if Padma was sent back, it was unlikely to go well. Especially if she ran into Dusk again.

“Yes,” he replied. “But I doubt such will be the case. Imani told me her Resma were quite insistent that she’d undergone a revelation. In large part due to you.”

“Me?” she asked, stopping. “But what did I do? I mean, there was a moment when she started going on about pride and feelings, but I never did anything.”

He smiled again, taking one her hands in his and pressing it firmly between them.

“Your mere presence is enough sometimes. Every person has an effect on those around them. Padma understands this, I am sure, and that is part of why she is so drawn to you, as is Imani. I’m quite curious about you myself.”

Before she could manage a blush, Aither let her hand go and continued walking. There was a lot of information to take into consideration. She didn’t feel like there was anything particularly special about herself, at least not in a particularly positive way. Her fingers drifted over her hand where he’d touched it as she started walking again.

“Is there anything you would like to know that may help you make your decision?” he asked, glancing over at her.

“Is there anyone I could talk to that was once Kageshi? Maybe interacting with someone who has lived as I have will give me a better idea of what I may lose and what I may gain.”

“Padma didn’t tell you? I was Kageshi-born.”

Eclipse stared at him, the amusement in his eyes probably the most irritatingly enchanting thing she had seen in a long time.

Ex Umbra Teaser #4

A soft squeeze of Eclipse’s hand elicited a smile that came almost naturally. She couldn’t help but find herself on the verge of giggling since Imani had started speaking. The older woman turned her head to Padma, the mood quickly shifting.

“While I have been concerned about how you were doing, you had better be ready to return. Otherwise you will simply be sent back out with the next group in a moon’s time.”

“You can check me now, you know,” Padma told her, irritation in her voice.

“But what would be the point when you would just need to be officially checked again after we arrived?”

Imani turned her head back towards Eclipse.

“I’m sorry, my dear. I’m sure none of this is making any sense right now, but it will in time. I knew that Padma was bringing a Kageshi with her, but I hadn’t expected one so lovely. I can’t wait to see what color your hair is when all of that dye is out. Unless you want to keep dying it, of course.”

“I…I’ve never thought about whether I wanted to or not,” Eclipse pondered. “It’s never really been a choice before.”

“Oh I know. I hated the dying as a child and refused to let anyone come near me with henna for years after I joined the Na’Kageshu. Some things are much easier as a child. You know just what you like and what you don’t, and who cares what anyone else thinks.”

Imani laughed softly as though recalling those very days. Unfortunately, there were no such pleasant memories to turn to, and Eclipse wasn’t quite sure what to expect as they neared the edge of the cliff, the churning roar of water making it almost impossible to speak. Her eyes found a small bridge, the floor of it formed of alabaster stones that led them across the river just before it fell. Thick twine rope line the sides, allowing for a stumbler to grab hold of them before falling into the water and over the edge. The sun finally fell, leaving them to walk in the lingering red and pink tones in the sky, enough to make out a small path that led either way beyond the bridge, the one to the right leading to a set of steps that seemed to descend down to wherever the water fell. Padma’s excitement couldn’t be contained anymore as she pulled Imani who pulled Eclipse onto the bridge to stand there and look over the edge.

“Isn’t it beautiful?” Padma sighed, happiness reading from every part of her. “Home.”

Beautiful seemed a very inadequate word for what Eclipse saw, lights of yellow, red and blue glittering in the velvet darkness and throwing hints of shadows from the large structures that dotted the land below. She didn’t have to strain her eyes much to make out the vivid colors that decorated both buildings and inhabitants. Her steps stopped as she clung to the side of the bridge, hands clutching the rope almost on instinct as she leaned a little further, taking in the layout, burning the memory into her mind.

“You can probably see much better once we are actually down there, m’dear,” Imani said, giggling at her reaction. “Although I should warn you.”

“Warn me?” she asked, nervousness seeping into the pleasant feelings she’d been indulging in.

“No, no, nothing bad,” Imani quickly corrected her. “It has been some time, perhaps a moon or so, since we’ve had a Kageshi decide to join us. There may be a bit of a hoopla about your arrival.”

“Hoopla?” Eclipse repeated.

“A party!” Padma exclaimed. “Oh, they will love you. Positively love you!”

As Padma once more grabbed her hand and led her across the bridge so they could begin their descent into the vibrant valley surrounding the waterfall, Eclipse made it a point to ask Padma just exactly what this concept of “love” entailed.

Ex Umbra Teaser #3

The golden bazaar, held for the few hours on the eastern half of the meet circle where the light of the sun struck true before disappearing for the evening. The light allowed for people to examine the wares and ensure quality, the rest preparing for the evening meal while selling any preserved meets or furs they felt could be spared. They had eaten first, and Doe now sat in front of their dwelling, surrounded by a small garden of clay pots, cups, containers and plates. It had been decided that Padma should stay inside, so she, lying down on her mat, watching the people come and go through the thin slits in the wallmat before her. It could have been some sort of vacation, but she couldn’t bring herself to relax or even sleep. All she felt was a deep sense of growing bitterness at the fact that she was so useless here. Somehow, on the way to the meet, she had convinced herself that she would be as sweet and docile as she could, treating whoever she ended up with as gently as she would her own family. The only one she could even get close enough to treat at all was Doe, and because of that, Doe was the one usually serving her. There hadn’t been much Padma had tried to plan on when the decision was handed down to her, but none of it was going at all how she’d pictured. Her place amongst the Na’Kageshu had been of respect with welcome adoration. She’d been loved and cherished. Children with scrapes would come to see her, tears running down their face, scrambling to climb under her hands or Resma to get a scrape healed or a toothache cured. Adults and littlings alike would seek what knowledge she had to share. Even now, she was not sure where it all went wrong. What she did know was that her being wrong had placed her into this forsaken place.

She heard the rustle of the doormat and looked up, meeting Buck’s glare. When he simply stood there, looking at her, she finally sat up and gave him her full attention.

“Yes?” she asked, wondering if he might finally begin to open up to her.

“What can you do with these?”

He threw down an armful of furs on the ground, and while she wanted to get up to see them better, that would bring her entirely too close to him, so she examined them the best that she could from where she was, picking out the tawny shades of rabbits and the deep, rich tones of foxes.

“I could make a hat or some boots,” she said thoughtfully, remembering the clothing she used to wear and considering the limitations of the Kagein’s preference for leather. “Maybe fur collars to go around the neck to help keep the heat in. Perhaps a muffler for Doe.”

“Then they are yours to play with, as long as you make something useful. Winter is coming, and I’m not sure if we will be able to get to our cave before the frost appears.”

“Cave?” she asked.

For the first time, he looked genuinely intrigued.

“Where do you spend your winters at?” he asked. “With the snows, it is far too cold to stay outside.”

“We live in buildings, and with some fires, those keep us warm through the winter months. When we do go outside, we wear lots of furs and leathers, many of which we trade for with you.”

That bit of information must have been new as he grimaced slightly. She bit her lip before giving into the urge that had been pestering her since they had first spoken.

“Why do you hate me…hate us so?”

“My sister,” he said, voice low and gruff. “When I was ten years old, my sister and I got separated at a meet once, and the Na’Kageshu that brought the rest in chains approached her. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, so I went off to play with the other children. As the sun started to set, I went to look for her. I found her in the arms of that Na’Kageshu woman. She was passed out, and the woman looked at me and held out her hand, as though inviting me to come with her. Of course I shook my head no, so she simply turned around and left with my sister. I haven’t seen her since.

“She had wisps, just like the ones you have. Those white ones were wrapped around my sister when she left.”

“And you still trusted me,” she murmured, wondering at the desperation he must have felt.

“I had no choice,” he replied, and she heard his voice catch for a moment. “I know what the council would have done with her if no medic could be found to help her. But she is no child that you can confuse and smuggle out of the meet. I will be watching you because I trusted only that you could heal her. How can I trust you or any of your kind?”

Ex Umbra Teaser #2

Lifting the doormat that led into her private space, Eclipse unceremoniously dumped the wicker basket next to the other two, all seemingly identical. The only difference between the baskets would be the written invitations at the bottom, safely tucked beneath the cloaks. Lying down on her mat, Eclipse glared at them, almost able to tell who had sent them just from the scent of the conjuring. Her room was cool, the tightly woven wallmats keeping the worst of the heat out and allowing her to think in peace. There were only a few men in among the clan that would risk angering a lover in order to try their luck at getting her attention. The regular lovers of four of the more lusty men were either pregnant or nursing, which made them mostly unavailable. Only one of the men had such a reputation that he could have whatever woman he wanted. There was a reason, after all, that she was still untried in the acts of bed.

“One of many,” she muttered to herself, getting up long enough to put out the candles in the two stands in her room. There was still enough sunlight out that it streamed through the minute gaps in her mats, giving her enough light to see by. She would rather not waste the candles. That would be just one more thing to barter for at the next meet or amongst the other members of the clan. Just before Eclipse moved towards her mat once more, her shadow tugged her so violently in the direction of the baskets that she fell over, barely catching herself in time to save a trip to the clan medic.

“Stop it!” she hissed, the sound quiet but vehement as she struggled mentally against the flood of emotions and images that filled her. The one man she was almost certain had sent a lover’s cloak was quiet handsome. He was a favorite of many women in the clan, and had quite a reputation with the rest of the Kageshi women. Who better to induct her into those pleasurable arts…

Eclipse gasped deeply for air as she turned towards the corner of her room that she kept for her own individual works and her special commissions, making her way towards the space. It felt like she was wading in water, hunting for the precious materials of her trade. Finally, she reached the pad she sat at, collapsing down onto it with relief, knowing that the worst was over. She reached down into the pot of silt, feeling the slick, cool texture of the clay that was kept there. Handful after handful, she pulled them out, letting the moisture of the clay drip onto the wood slab where she did all her work. Her fingers stroked the clay into shape, making a small bottle for any number of liquids. Ring after small delicate ring, she formed the wide base of the bottle, working thinner as she reached the neck. Her fingers dipped into the silt water, her fingers smoothing out the inside as her mind started to wander to the designs she would put along the outside. Perhaps flowers.

As she worked the clay, she admitted that this was the true reason why she remained here, safe beside Storm and the occasional visitors they received. Eclipse knew that her shadow was only trying to help, to show her to true path to her heart’s desires. But she hated… loathed the feeling that she was not in complete control of herself. If she did choose a lover, she wanted to choose because she wanted to choose. Not because it was what others expected of her. Not because she was tired of her shadow nagging. Simply because she truly wanted it. Her struggles with her shadow were unnatural, at best. At worst, they would mean exile.

So, she stayed here, with Storm. The fewer people she was around, the less likely it was that she would go into one of her moods. The very last thing she wanted was to be brought before the Council again. A deep shudder rippled through her, and she had to force her hands not to tear apart the delicate creation at her fingertips. It was a rare moment she bothered thinking about it, but every day was a reminder of the scars that encounter had left. Her use name, the Silent Green-eyed Doe, was true in every sense. She would rather say something meaningful than nothing at all, and all of her meaningful comments early on in life had been met with harsh criticism. Life did not need to be more difficult for her than it already was. That burden was one that she knew she was not strong enough for.

Ex Umbra Teaser #1

Enjoy the teaser!

“This sort of failure is simply beyond the scale of what we have come to expect from you, Dusk.”

The Council Shade hovered around the raised mat where the once active body rested. Like every other Council Shade, it was tied to the body of a person who was deemed so in touch with his or her own inner desires and self that they had been elevated to this state – a perpetual sleep, with the shadow the only remaining interaction with those who had yet to reach such a state of enlightenment. There were seven such Council Shades, one to travel with each of the clans, and together these Shades made all of the critical decisions concerning the lives of the Kagein. It was the duty of the leader of each clan to care for the Shade traveling with them, and Dusk had hoped that this conversation would have waited at least until they had all recovered from the night hike.

“I always said that such an untried person as you were far too young to bear the responsibilities and burdens for a clan, even one as small as the Raccoon,” it continued, the Shade’s tone more of a deep drone, humming in the back of Dusk’s head than an audible voice. “But we decided to take a chance with you. You proved to have a great amount of skill and drive, despite your liability.”

“With all due respect, Council Shade, please do not bring that up,” Dusk said, his own voice growing quiet with an undertone of rage. “Last night’s affair was heavy enough of a weight on me without being reminded of my sister’s kidnapping.”

The Shade stopped where it was, creeping up against a wall, in order to slide back down, decreasing its size back down to something that approximated a normal shadow. It halted on the ground in front of him.

“True enough. However, you will be brought to answer for this loss before the full Council when we reconvene at the meet when the moon is at its fullest. I suggest you think long and hard about what you will say. You are not the only one with something to prove, Dusk, but there may well be others more capable at it than you have demonstrated. You are dismissed.”

Dusk managed to leave the covered area of the Council Shade’s resting place, waiting until his shadow was well out of communicating distance before balling up his fists and letting out the slightest growl. Three people. One was almost expected, especially considering some of the weaker members of the clan. But losing three completely unrelated people was a major blow to the clan, particularly when you added to that the loss of Forest Shade yesterday. One mother, two hunters and one child. The child was fairly inconsequential since the little ones were more a drain on the clan’s resources than anything. But losing Forest Shade… Well, the clan would have to compensate for that loss somehow. Another hunter would either pick up the slack or they would eat less meat as a whole. Those were the only two real options, and Dusk really did not care which it took to keep the clan stable and the Council Shade off his back. They had another three days until they made it to the meet. He simply could not afford to have anything else go wrong, no matter how slight.

Happy NaNoWriMo!

The writing frenzy is underway, and while I learn to type without my left pinky until this nail glue dries, I'll let you guys know what I've got planned for the moment. I will be sharing snippets of my novel (nothing too crucial, of course) every Wednesday this month just so you all don't feel so left out of the loop. So, stay tuned for the first sample tomorrow!

For those of you who are enjoying the insanity as well, best of luck, and feel free to add me as a buddy on the official NaNo site: Yin Silverblood

NaNoWriMo Ambitions

Alrighty, loves. Here is a brief glimpse at the world I'll be spending the next month spinning away, Ex Umbra

The Kageshi are a people that live life on the run, spending most of the year in a nomadic lifestyle in order to keep from being the prey of the various beasts that roam the land. They believe that their shadows are an extension of their wants, desires and innermost selves, and they can often be found whispering to each other when they gather around the campfires. Darkness is beauty, and that beauty is used for their nocturnal survival.

But in the midst of their existence are the Na'Kageshu. Not enemies, these people are tolerated. In part for fear of the unholy pact they must have with the beasts. In part because of their usefulness in providing laborers and workers, as well as some unique items. Those shadowless beings dwell in permanent homes and used the most disconcerting techniques. The most dishonorable thing a Kageshi can do is exile to live among them.

Meet five people that exist within these two worlds and discover the true meanings of light and darkness in this world of self-indulgence, self-doubt, self-worth, and self-sacrifice.

Three Strikes, Second Chances and First Stones: An Exploration of Rehabilitation and Criminal Punishment

Duc was 16 years old when he entered the criminal justice system. Whether or not he came from a good home is arguable because of some physical abuse he received from his father. He ended up in foster care, trying to push ahead the best he could. No prior arrests, relatively good kid with aspirations of going to college. He was driving with some friends in the backseat of his car when one of them fired a gun out the window. On the stand, he claimed to have not known the minor who actually pulled the trigger, instead saying that it was the friend of a friend. Although no one was injured in the shooting, he was tried as an adult and eventually convicted of attempted first degree murder. Because the attempted shooting was found to be gang affiliated, Duc ended up with a harsher sentence and is now serving 35 to life.[1] Is that really justice?[2]

In this context, can we even decide what justice really is? This semester, we have been struggling to put a proper definition to “justice,” and I think we are still hard pressed to say what it definitively should look like even if we could agree on one. However, given my English background and my obsession with the use of words, the very least I can do is lay out what will be the first of many definitions for the purposes of this paper. The most prevalent forms of the word “justice” and “just” in the Old Testament are derived from the primary root tsâdaq, which generally means to be or make right in a moral or forensic sense; to cleanse or clear the self; to be just or do justice; to justify self; and/or to be or turn to righteousness.[3] The word for “just” used in the New Testament mean equitable in character or act; by implication innocent; holy.[4] Given these two definitions, while we cannot fully merge them, to act justly seems to require both inward character and outward actions. By our own means, we can only try to make right our wrong, attempting to create order and place things back into their proper place. So, at the risk of stating the obvious, real justice is something man can aspire to, but never fully attain.

As important as justice for the victim is, I feel that we can lose our focus if we only seek the justice for those who are wronged when we discuss the criminal justice system. In her book Lying, Sissela Bok argues that lying harms both the liar and the one being lied to.[5] There is no doubt that a sin, regardless of the target, ultimately harms the sinner and takes him/her further away from God. Jesus chastised the Pharisees, telling them that they had “neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith.[6] While it is not always feasible for the justice system to show mercy to criminals, we can certainly combine justice and faith and see where such a mindset leads us.

We know that punishment must play a role in this equation. There are consequences for every action, and the Lord disciplines those He loves.[7] However, punishment, whether divine or secular, is more the natural course of action. A society without consequences for disapproved behavior can only end in chaos, so criminal punishment must be present in some form, regardless of whether one cares for the well being of the criminal on any level. As Christians, we have been called to a higher standard than just playing by the rules the world sets in place. When asked why He chose to associate with sinners, Christ's response was that it is those who are sick who need the physician, that it is the sinners who need the call to repentance.[8] If Christ laid the ultimate example for His disciples, present and future, then what do His words mean for us? What do we owe, if anything, to the sick and the sinner?

Defining Rehabilitation

You'd be hard pressed to find the word “rehabilitate” in that exact form within the Bible, so I'll have to turn to the generic dictionary for help with this one. To rehabilitate can be to “restore to a condition of good health, ability to work or the like; to restore formally to former capacity, standing, rank, rights, or privileges.[9] The concept of restoration is a key part of rehabilitation. Two of the definitions of restore are to “bring back to a formal, original or normal condition” or “bring back to of health, soundness or vigor.[10] Simply put, rehabilitation is restoration with a specific purpose or goal in mind.

Restoration is a concept that is near and dear to God's heart. One could very well argue that since the Fall, God has set things into motion to restore mankind to its intending place – an intimate relationship with Him. Looking at Genesis and Revelations, the similarities between Adam's position with God and the Church's position with God can be seen. God walked with Adam in the cool of the day, and when there is a new heaven and a new earth, God will again dwell among His people.[11] Everything in between demonstrates, in various ways and with various words, that God has man's original position in mind. Christ did many miracles during His time on earth, most of the more well known ones in the forms of restoring either health, life or sanity to people.[12] Christ did not discriminate between those who were in that state perhaps because of their sin and those who were in that state so that Christ would demonstrate His power; He performed His miracles through the faith of those that requested to be healed. During His time with His disciples, He tells them that whoever believes in Him will do greater works than those He did during His time on the earth.[13] A very strong argument could be made that all Christians have access to the restorative power that Christ displayed through the power and giftings of the Holy Spirit. However, the choice is ultimately ours regarding whether or not we decide we want to exercise that power, as is the case with so many gifts from God.

The concept of restoration undoubtedly has a place within Christianity. There can be quite a difference between the one-on-one interactions that we have with those that God places into our path and the large structure that is the criminal justice system. While we can choose to exercise mercy whenever and however (in terms of how much mercy to extend to the trespasser) to whoever, we almost do not expect our justice system to do the same thing. At the very least, we certainly expect the system to punish those who commit crimes, regardless of whether the crime is a sin on its face or we believe it is so by virtue of the secular law.[14] So can there be a secure place for focused restoration in the form of rehabilitation within the criminal justice system? While the answer was once found to be no, this paper will briefly explore the former justification for punishment and the ensuing shifts that came within the criminal justice system. Next, it will reconsider rehabilitation within the criminal context. Finally, it will ask what role Christians should and can play within the realm of criminal rehabilitation.

Three Strikes: Shifting Justifications and Multiple Offense Statutes

Once upon a time, the primary goal of criminal punishment was rehabilitation. The new found faith in the sciences resulted in the prevalent viewpoint of the criminal as the mentally or physically sick individual, requiring treatment in the form of incarceration[15]. Statutes allowed for indeterminate sentences in order to allow the criminal enough time to be “cured,” the parole boards serving the function of deciding when the criminal was well and could be again released into the general population.[16]

In due time, the pendulum began to sway once more, having apparently reached its peak with the marriage of rehabilitation and the criminal justice system. The shift away from the rehabilitative model started to pick up speed during the 1970s, at least in some small part due to the decision in Powell v. Texas.[17] While the case did not directly relate to the rehabilitative model of criminal punishment, it does demonstrate a prevalent mindset that existed in the nation as well as the concerns about that pattern of thinking. The case revolved around Powell who was arrested for being intoxicated in public[18]. His defense was that since he suffered from the disease of alcoholism, he did not appear in public out of his own free will, and therefore, punishing him for being diseased was cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the 8th Amendment[19]. The court issued a plurality opinion, determining that the conviction was not cruel and unusual punishment[20]. In the discussion about how to deal with the details of alcoholism within the context of the case, Justice Marshall wrote that there are “conceptual difficulties inevitably attendant upon the importation of scientific and medical models into a legal system generally predicated upon a different set of assumptions.[21] Furthermore, he stated that “this Court has never held that anything in the Constitution requires that penal sanctions be designed solely to achieve therapeutic or rehabilitative effects, and it can hardly be said with assurance that incarceration serves such purposes any better for the general run of criminals than it does for public drunks.[22] The concurring opinion continues the critique of the presumed goal of rehabilitation by recognizing that criminal law has other purposes.[23] Neither opinion denied the fact that alcoholism was a disease and did require treatment; the concern centered around what place such considerations really had within the realm of criminal punishment. The fact that the opinion was issued as a plurality demonstrates, and perhaps mirrors, the public feelings towards the rehabilitative model at that point in time.

Some of the criticisms of applying medical concepts of rehabilitation to criminal punishment made within this decision already existed in other conversations about the rehabilitative model. Voices, conservative and liberal alike, complained about everything from how the current model did not include a concept of moral accountability to the cruelty of indeterminate sentencing to the criminal.[24] Vitiello gives the reader a picture of a system where judges were given broad discretion to determine the sentence of a criminal but next to no guidelines on how to make that decision[25]. A man-made system of justice is inherently flawed and prone to both abuse and incorrect judgments, but one without clear guidelines can only be more so. Ultimately, the cry for a more evenhanded system of sentencing seemed to be the last straw against the rehabilitative model.

The death of this model of criminal punishment was imminent with the passing of the Sentencing Reform Act in 1984, which was a part of the larger Comprehensive Crime Control Act. This act eliminated parole in the federal system and established the United States Sentencing Commission.[26] Under the USSC, determinate sentencing based on the seriousness of the crime began in the federal system.[27] It was merely a matter of time before the states began to follow suit, at the very least doing away with indeterminate sentencing and moving to a more concrete set of guidelines.[28]

Although it is clear that the shift was away from the rehabilitative model, there is still a fair amount of debate on what the current model is and should be founded upon. The development of habitual offender statutes has only added more fodder to that discussion. Most states have enacted some sort of version of this law, and California's is commonly known as “Three Strikes.”

Three Strikes was codified in California Penal Code § 667 in 1994, and the name derives from 667(e)(2)(A), which states that a defendant with two or more prior felony convictions covered by the statute will receive an indeterminate term of life imprisonment. Three strikes, and you're out. The statute covers what it labels serious or violent felonies, including mayhem, lewd or lascivious acts, arson, extortion, burglary and carjacking.[29] The California law does not allow for consideration of the length of time between the prior and present conviction, requires certain defendants to serve consecutive rather than concurrent terms and increases the jail time of the second conviction that falls within the guidelines of the statute, strike number two.[30]

Vitiello mused that the appearance of and interest in habitual offender statutes “signals another dramatic shift from retribution to incapacitation and, to a lesser degree, deterrence as the primary justification for punishment.[31] He goes on to say that from a utilitarian point of view, both incapacitation and deterrence are valid reasons.[32] The advent of other laws, such as the increased sentence time that a judge is required to place on cases where the crime was gang-affiliated, seems to support the idea that the shift is heading towards incapacitation and deterrence as the primary goal of punishment.[33] The unspoken question within his observation is can we settle for a “greatest good for the greatest amount of people” rationale when we're talking about punishing people, sometimes for life. Even if we concede that Three Strikes has accomplished the goal of deterring crime from happening, I still think that we are challenged with the question of whether or not we could make the system more “just,” particularly in the Biblical sense.[34]

The removal of the rehabilitative model from the criminal justice system has solved the specific criticisms attributed to the system, such as indeterminate sentencing and unclear sentencing guidelines, but in its wake remains a question regarding what the goal of criminal punishment should be and how that goal can be achieved. The general consensus is that the primary purpose is that of retribution, but what other goals are considered legitimate, and in what relation to retribution?

Second Chances: Another Glance at Rehabilitation

The concern with bringing up the term “rehabilitation” within the context of criminal punishment is that it also tends to bring into mind images of leniency on the criminal. Some key concerns with the rehabilitative model were those of providing systematic fairness for that same criminal. I believe that both can be addressed without necessarily losing the retributive aspect of criminal punishment.

One British study done examined the question of whether rehabilitation and retribution were as opposed as people seem to make them out to be.[35] The authors came to the conclusion that they are not, and in fact share some similarities in that both focus on the inner nature of the criminal.

[...R]epression rests on the assumption that human beings are evil by nature, whereas rehabilitation's ambition to socialize people into new identities and lifestyles relies on the assumption that human nature is essentially pliable, open and undetermined. Repression assumes that the causes of crime reside within the criminals, who are seen as essentially evil people who need to be punished for their misdeeds. Rehabilitation instead assumes that criminals can be reformed, because human nature is essentially open and pliable: bad social circumstances can make any person a criminal, just like favourable conditions can transform a criminal into a decent citizen. Those contrasting beliefs about human nature underlie the deep-rooted conviction that repression is the converse of rehabilitation.

While debating whether the premises laid out here line up with the ideas of retribution and rehabilitation, we as Christians can at least agree with the premises themselves. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, but we can also do all things through Christ who strengthens us.[36] Man is capable of great evil but can also be pushed towards a life of nobility, and any number of factors can and do play a role in determining which path an individual will take at any given moment. Agreeing that the inner man inherently drives the outer man seems to be the easiest hurdle to jump over in this discussion.

I would argue that rehabilitation and retribution could coexist, so long as we would be willing to acknowledge the fact that not everyone can be rehabilitated. Even Christ did not force Himself on anyone, giving the freedom to refuse to answer His call. There will be those whom, through their actions or their own mouths, would refuse a chance at rehabilitation. Habitual offenders may well fall into that category, as would those warranting the death penalty.[37] Still, in a world where peer pressure and the desire to live up to arbitrary standards can weigh heavily on the hearts and minds of the masses, rehabilitation could be a key role in keeping small-time criminals out of the prison system once and for all by providing a clearly valid alternative to the life that the criminal may have been living.

Jordan J. Ballor discussed a particular theory, that of restorative justice, as one that embraces rehabilitation. He explains that “restorative justice is a theory of justice that emphasizes concepts such as reconciliation, forgiveness and healing,” continuing to say that if the theory fits in with classical definitions of justice, then these concepts are owed to people left in the aftermath of a crime.[38] If perhaps that statement felt a little strong to you, we can shift to the perspective offered from a Catholic standpoint. In 2000, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice, and Joseph L. Falvey, Jr. wrote an article critiquing the statement, which argued that protecting society and rehabilitation are the primary purposes of punishment.[39] He argued that the traditional Catholic viewpoint of the “principal and justifying aim” of punishment rested on retribution.[40] Relying on Aquinas and natural order, Falvey goes through four ends of punishment in order from greater to lesser.

The primary end of punishment is to redress the disorder the offense introduced in the moral order as a whole. The secondary end of punishment is the restoration of the public and civil order. The tertiary end of punishment, which is closely related to the second, is the defense of public safety. Finally, punishment offers the rehabilitation of the offender himself, which is the restoration of the order within the criminal soul.[41]

His primary gripe with the statement by the USCCB was that he felt they did not affirm traditional Catholic teaching and placed too much emphasis on the individual's good rather than the common good.[42] Still, did say that the statement “affirms certain perennial truths about punishment, such as the existence of free will as the basis of responsibility, the importance of providing opportunities for the criminal's reforms, the need for social protection and crime prevention, and the necessity of a stable family life as an element to reducing crime.[43]

I believe that a major problem with the previous rehabilitative model of criminal punishment was the fact that rehabilitation was the primary goal. Placing retribution as the primary goal allows for a theoretically equal playing field for all who enter the system. However, leaving rehabilitation out of the picture entirely results in a rather dire situation for the one punished, as there is no chance or concern for the criminals reformation.

What I found particularly noteworthy about California's Three Strikes statute is the decision to include juvenile adjudications if the crime would have fallen under this category and the minor was at least 16 when s/he committed the crime.[44] As the traditional purpose of the juvenile justice system has been (and at least theoretically remains) the rehabilitation of the youth, the fact that the California law cuts out this corner of that page to incorporate into the adult justice system could signal a shift away from the rehabilitative model for youth as well. Across the nation, statutes have been put into place that make it easier for youth to be tried as adults and subjected to adult prisons, and therefore, adult situations.[45]

The documentary, Juvies, looks into the lives of several youth who were tried and convicted as adults[46]. Elizabeth, a girl who had already been in adult prison for seven years, talks about the difficulties of growing up in the prison system. She briefly explains how she ended up dealing in drugs and being sexually involved with another woman, both activities she'd never done prior to being incarcerated. She tells the camera “I am what I swore I wouldn't be.” The narrator states that men sent to prison tend to look to gangs and violence to cope while the women tend to look to drugs and lesbian relationships to maintain their grip on reality. Given the advent of habitual offender statutes and the imposition of harsher punishment on gang-affiliated crime, more and more youth are being caught into this system and this world behind bars.

Now, we could spend time arguing over being the masters of our own fate and accepting the consequences of our actions, all which would include many valid points. However, while society and the victim may have received some form of justice, should a Christian be content with leaving a person in the squalor of not only their own sin, but perhaps sanctioning the immersion of the sinner into even more sinful conditions than the criminal could ever have imagined. While we know that blessed is he who endures temptation, it is undoubtedly that much more difficult to guard one's mind and heart when one is up to the proverbial neck in sin.[47] That thought leaves us with the question of what, if anything, should or can Christians do for those who have violated laws and deserve punishment. Is there a proper Christian perspective on criminal rehabilitation?

First Stones: A Call to Restoration?

If both God and Christ were concerned about the restoration of man, then can we construct a valid argument that Christians should not be? If justice, mercy and faith are crucial aspects of the law, and Christ did not abolish but fulfill the law, should we not still be concerned with all three? Well, enough of the rhetorical questions.

The Book of John gives us the story of the adulteress.[48] The scribes and Pharisees brought forth a woman caught in adultery, attempting yet again to test Jesus. He tells them “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.[49] While ultimately a lesson in mercy and just one example of Christ handling those who sought to challenge him, there is, as with most stories in the Bible, many deeper layers. The first worth pointing out here is that the punishment could have gone forward, so long as a sinless man cast the first stone. As He phrased it, the sentence could have been carried out should He have chosen to cast that stone. However, He did not. He waited until those who would stone her had left before speaking with the woman.[50] Telling her that He would not condemn her, He instructed her to go and sin no more.[51]

The word “condemn” used here means to “judge against” or “sentence” as well as the actual word for condemning and damning.[52] If the system was under Christian control, then I believe we would have the same authority to condemn or not, to find guilty or acquit as the case warranted it. While only Christ knows what exactly was within the heart of the adulteress in that moment, there was the clear call to sin no more. If she was under our criminal system, she would have simply been given her sentence and sent to jail with no concern for her spiritual well being. This example is only one of many within the Bible of a moment when punishment is withheld so that mercy can be given and a call to live to a higher standard is issued.

Rehabilitation could provide us with a framework in which we could extend a form of mercy and/or call the criminal to a higher standard, so I stand firmly in view of support for criminal rehabilitation. The real debate is how that rehabilitation should look. Let us revisit the theory of restorative justice. Ballor suggested that there are generally four basic positions that seem to represent how Christians view restorative justice in conjunction with the criminal justice system: complementarian reformists, instrumentalist reformists, separate radicalists and abolitionist radicalists[53].

I will briefly sum up each position as put forth by Ballor. Complementary reformists want the criminal justice system to move towards restorative goals while not necessarily doing away with the punitive aspects.[54] At the very least, retribution and restoration should coexist, although some under this position may argue that restoration can even take the place as the primary aim of punishment.[55] Instrumentalist reformists believe that punishment is only valid if restorative justice is the primary focus.[56] Any punishment that is not designed with the goals of restorative justice in mind is not legitimately administered.[57] Separatist radicalists stand firmly on the belief that “punishment, retribution, coercion or force” are at odds with “the principles and practice of restorative justice” and would prefer a system apart from the current criminal justice system to dole out restorative justice.[58] Abolitionist radicalists take that concept to the next step and argue guess it...the criminal justice system should be dismantled, with all that such a position would imply.[59]

These positions can translate themselves into how we feel about the role of rehabilitation within the current justice system. Should it be incorporated, placed in a position of primacy, dealt with apart from the State or drive the destruction of the status quo? A separate paper would be needed to fully explore the Biblical (and otherwise) arguments for and against each position as well as how each position might translate into a practical application. What I can do is touch on some practical suggestions and some practical movements that have been made regarding criminal punishment and rehabilitation.

In his article Reconsidering Rehabilitation, Vitiello argues “an offender's transformation, like his culpability, is relevant to morally appropriate punishment. If that conclusion is sound, then consideration of an offender's transformation is not impermissible on equality grounds.[60] The concerns with playing fair that existed in the previous rehabilitative model could be rectified by carefully constructed guidelines. Unfortunately, Vitiello does not follow up the statement with any ideas of how such consideration would look in regards to the punishment aspect of the criminal justice system. Theoretically, it could be done, using a system of recommendations, observations about behavior post-arrest and possibly during incarceration to establish a fair system of evaluation that would recognize a criminal's potential to be reintroduced to society as a law-abiding citizen.

Another movement regarding rehabilitation and criminal punishment is the rise of faith-based prisons and religious programming with in the prison setting. Lawtey Correctional Institution in Florida was converted in 2004 to an institution focused on cultivating faith and character within the male prison population.[61] All the prisoners were informed and given the option to transfer, and prisoners from other institutions were given the chance to transfer to the newly established prison provided that they had been “without any discipline problems for a least a year prior to the transfer” and were approaching their release date.[62] The institution offers programming in all faiths, but most of the inmates and volunteers are Christian.[63] A female version was soon set up at Hillsborough Prison, also located in Florida[64].

Other than converting entire institutions to a faith-based model, there is the other option of designating an area of the existing institution to a faith-based focus. InnerChange Freedom Initiative (IFI) occupies an entire wing of the institution, putting into place religious programming using private donations and volunteers.[65] IFI exclusively teachers Christian doctrine and also a “reentry program”, and the inmates that participate receive greater resources and are subject to greater disciplinary requirements, including a rigid schedule which starts with praise and worship at 6am.[66]

Both of these models have come under heavy criticism, including questions of Constitutionality and whether inmates are professing conversion simply to escape the environments of the rest of the criminal system. While not discrediting either question, given the context of the paper, my primary concern with these models is that they only reach a small portion of the criminal population. Both programs only handle prisoners who are approaching release. Prison Fellowship, the organization which heads IFI, does have a prison outreach ministry, and such programs can certainly be a solution. This still leaves the question of what to do for those who may not be approaching release anytime soon. The old saying goes that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and it is undoubtedly better to keep those not already inclined to misconduct from engaging in it once within prison. As mentioned above, the environment can be toxic and corrode the spirit of those within it. Undoubtedly there will be those that bite the hand that feed them and those that will outright refuse rehabilitation from any perspective, let alone a Christian one. Still, I strongly feel that merely telling prisoners to stay out of trouble and not give into the darkness is like telling the poverty-stricken to be warm and filled.[67] Faith and love are both empty without actions that confirm it and I believe that both call us to do more for those that are incarcerated. We can point at all the wrong that a person has done, but we as Christians should pause and consider that there was a time when we all were lost, awaiting to be found. Perhaps we should let the system throw the first stone, which it certainly loves to do, instead of being so quick to follow up with our own.


Rehabilitation and criminal punishment certainly experienced a rough breakup. Perhaps the system was indeed broken and needed some readjustment. However, if the system is still seeking justice for all, then it may well be time to reintroduce rehabilitation to criminal punishment. Regardless of which theory of Christian restorative justice you may subscribe to, there is no reason that many of the options discussed here could not coexist within our current system. If someone was feeling particularly ambitious, they could tackle the entire system. Christ tells us that we are no better than the rest of the world if we only love those who love us.[68] He challenges us to a higher standard, to love those who wrong us, those who would be our enemies.[69]

When asked what he wanted people to know about him, Duc responded with this statement:

What do I want people to know about me? There's not much to know. You know, I'm human just like you. Just because I'm locked up doesn't mean I'm just some, like, horrible guy. I like to read. I like to write. I want people to love me for me. Not because of what people tell them, but to give me the opportunity to sit down with me, and just to get to know me and talk to me. If so, maybe you'll find out that I'm really not a bad guy after all. That I'm not a lost cause.[70]

I cannot help but feel that when we simply refuse criminals a chance at rehabilitation, systematically or otherwise, we are telling them that they are a lost cause. Even in the midst of His punishments, God extended mercy and showed immeasurable patience with His people. Cain received a second chance at life; although condemned to never enter the promised land, God still provided for Israel with manna and quail; despite handing Israel over to her enemies, He promised to make her prosper even in captivity. We should all understand that God is a God of second chances. He may have a special heart for the widowed and the orphan, but we know that God's heart goes beyond just those two groups. It certainly does not mean that we are allowed to write off the incarcerated just because they have committed a crime.

Debates will undoubtedly happen over what form rehabilitation should or can take, but in order to get to a point where such debates could even be fruitful, we must reach an understanding that rehabilitation is a goal of punishment worth keeping in mind. If we believe that it is God's desire that no one should perish, but that all should come to repentance and be part of what could arguably be the greatest rehabilitation program in the history of mankind, then perhaps at least a chance at rehabilitation is something that we, at least from the Christian perspective, do owe criminals.[71]

[1] Juvies (Chance Films 2004).

[2] Duc's sentence was recently lowered to 11 to life, a fact that some attribute to the outpouring of letters to the government after his appearance in the documentary, Juvies. In light of the reduced sentence, he was up for parole in 2009, which was denied.

[3] New Strong's Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Hebrew Bible, in The New Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of The Bible 119 (James Strong, ed., Thomas Nelson Publishers 1995) (1995) [hereinafter Strong's Hebrew].

[4] New Strong's Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament, in The New Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of The Bible 24 (James Strong, ed., Thomas Nelson Publishers 1995) (1995) [hereinafter Strong's Greek].

[5] Sissela Bok, Lying 24 (1999) (1989).

[6] Matthew 23:23 (NKJV). All verses quoted in this paper are from the NKJV.

[7] Proverbs 3:11-12; Hebrews 12:7-11

[8] Luke 5:31-32

[9] “rehabilitation." Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 13 Nov. 2010.>

[10] "restore." Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 13 Nov. 2010.>

[11] Genesis 3:8; Revelations 21:3

[12] While an entire paper could be written on the subject of the restorative power of Christ alone, I will simply mention some more well known miracles for the sake of reference. There was the healing of the woman who had the issue of bleeding (Luke 8:43-48); the well known resurrection of Lazarus after being dead for three days (John 11:1-44); and the driving out of Legion from the man who had been living amongst the tombs (Mark 5:1-15).

[13] John 14:12

[14] Aquinas argued that not all sin was a crime, but all crime was a sin, and if we are called to obey the secular authorities as placed into positions of power by God, then that is a logical conclusion. Thankfully, most crimes at least morally line up with our innate concept of sin, so we rarely run into the problem of actually considering the sinful nature of a specific act which is a crime according to the law of man. One example of an area that may bring up some interesting arguments are in the realm of civil disobedience, notably during the civil rights era. A sin to reject discrimination (systematic favoritism) by intentionally breaking the law? Another discussion for another time.

[15] Michael Vitiello, Reconsidering Rehabilitation, 65 Tul. L. Rev. 1011, 1016 (1991) [hereinafter Rehabilitation].

[16] Id.

[17] 392 US 514, 514.

[18] Id. at 517

[19] Id.

[20] Id. at 537

[21] Id. at 526

[22] Id. at 530

[23] Id. at 539

[24] Rehabilitation, supra Note 15, at 1019-20.

[25] Id. at 1022-23

[26] Id. at 1027; United States Sentencing Commission, An Overview of the United States Sentencing Commission (2010) (last visited Nov. 16, 2010) [hereinafter USSC].

[27] USSC, supra Note 26.

[28] While I apologize for the relatively short history on the shift away from the rehabilitative model, I trust that my fellow classmates will appreciate my decision not to do a lengthier consideration of the various factors considered, arguments made and criticisms demonstrated for and against the rehabilitative method. As the bulk of the paper is more on the reconsideration of the place of rehabilitation, this history is primarily for the purpose of laying a common foundation from which we can all discuss.

[29] Cal. Penal Code § 667.5(c)

[30] See Cal. Penal Code § 667 generally.

[31] Michael Vitiello, Three Strikes: Can We Return to Rationality, 87 J. Crim. L. & Criminology. 395, 397 [hereinafter Three Strikes]

[32] Id.

[33] Cal. Penal Code § 186.22

[34] Charts that are available at the California Attorney General's website ( document a number of statistics concerning the criminal affairs of California, and I find it hard to draw a definite conclusion that the Three Strikes law had a role to play in any decrease in crime. The level of homicides and rapes seem to have remained relatively level and the greatest drop seems to have occurred in property crimes, which was already on a downward slope prior to 1994. However, as stated above, I have no problem in conceding the fact that Three Strikes may have played a role in whatever decline has happened.

[35] Peter Mascini & Dick Houtman, Rehabilitation and Repression, 46 Brit. J. Criminology 822, 822 (2006).

[36] Romans 3:23; Philippians 4:13

[37] I will state that even if we were to agree that all those who unlawfully took another life could be eligible to receive the death penalty, I do think that we could theoretically establish a system to rehabilitate those murderers who seemed to demonstrate the proper amount of remorse and potential for rehabilitation. A rubric of sorts considering the nature of the murder itself along with the behavior of the criminal post-arrest and post-imprisonment, combined with observations by peers and prison personnel could be one such system. However, as any other human creation, any system would undoubtedly be prone to abuse from both sides of the bench. A properly constructed system may well be worth the risk.

[38] Jordan J. Ballor, To Reform or to Abolish? Christian Perspectives on Punishment, Prison and Restorative Justice, 6 Ave Maria L. Rev. 481, 481 (2008).

[39] Joseph L. Falvey, Jr., Crime and Punishment: A Catholic Perspective 43 Cath. Law. 149, 149

[40] Id. at 155

[41] Id. at 160

[42] Id. at 167-68

[43] Id. at 167

[44] Cal. Penal Code § 667(d)(3)

[45] Frontline: Juvenile Justice: Child or Adult? (2010) (last accessed Nov. 14, 2010)

[46] Juvies, supra Note 1.

[47] Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12; “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23

[48] John 8:1-11

[49] John 8:7

[50] John 8:9

[51] John 8:11

[52] Strong's Greek, supra Note 4, 46.

[53] Ballor, supra Note 38, at 484-93.

[54] Id. at 487.

[55] Id.

[56] Id. at 489.

[57] Id.

[58] Id. at 491.

[59] Id. at 492.

[60] Rehabilitation, supra Note 15, at 1052

[61] Marc O. DeGirolami, The New Religious Prisons and Their Retributivist Commitments, 59 Ark. L. Rev. 1, 15.

[62] Id.

[63] Id.

[64] Id.

[65] Id. at 17.

[66] Id. at 18

[67] James 2:15-16

[68] Luke 6:32

[69] Id.

[70] Juvies, supra Note 1.

[71] 2 Peter 3:9

Not Alone