God Said Man Said

The Perfect Penal System

The penal system in the U.S.A. places the burden of the crime upon the innocent. Godís plan placed the responsibility of the offenderís debt upon his own shoulders.
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The Perfect Penal System

Article#: 762

God’s word is perfect. Psalms 19:9, “...the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.” Read the Word of God in your majority-text King James Bible daily and it will be a lamp unto your feet (Psalms 119:105). A common question is, “How often should I read?” A simple answer is, if you spend as much time reading the Word of God and feeding your spiritual man as you do your physical man, you’ll do well. NOW FOR TODAY’S SUBJECT.

GOD SAID, Exodus, chapter 22, verses 1-3:

1 If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep.

2 If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him.

3 If the sun be risen upon him, there shall be blood shed for him; for he should make full restitution; if he have nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.

GOD SAID, Leviticus, chapter 24, verses 11-14:

11 And the Israelitish woman’s son blasphemed the name of the LORD, and cursed. And they brought him unto Moses: (and his mother’s name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan:)

12 And they put him in ward, that the mind of the LORD might be shewed them.

13 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

14 Bring forth him that hath cursed without the camp; and let all that heard him lay their hands upon his head, and let all the congregation stone him.

GOD SAID, Numbers, chapter 35, verses 11-13:

11 Then ye shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you; that the slayer may flee thither, which killeth any person at unawares.

12 And they shall be unto you cities for refuge from the avenger; that the manslayer die not, until he stand before the congregation in judgment.

13 And of these cities which ye shall give six cities shall ye have for refuge.

GOD SAID, Ecclesiastes, chapter 8, verse 11:

Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.

MAN SAID: The Bible is a book of archaic principles which have no practical benefit for a modern society.

Now THE RECORD. The verses highlighted above outline some of the basic principles of the God-given penal system. God’s laws concerning corporal punishment were structured in such a way as to ensure that the cost of the crime was shouldered by the perpetrator, and that justice was quick. In Exodus, chapter 22, verses 1-3, it reads: “If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep. If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him. If the sun be risen upon him, there shall be blood shed for him; for he should make full restitution; if he have nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.” Note that the thief had two options: pay for his theft in goods or, if he lacked the means to pay for his crime, he was sold to retire his debt to society. In every instance the criminal shouldered the cost of his crime. Many are appalled at the idea of a man or woman being sold into servitude to make good their offense, but consider the alternative: We incarcerate into the prison system to punish and attempt to rehabilitate. The first-time offender cohabitates with other criminals which include some very hardened ones. He or she then returns to society much less naive and in many cases more accomplished in the way of error. The recidivism rate in the U.S., which is the rate at which criminals end up back in prison for similar crimes, is a whopping 67½%. The prison system’s rehabilitation record certainly has its work cut out for it. It’s quite common for inmates to be sexually violated: males sodomized and females raped and exploited. The atmosphere in the present prison system is simply not conducive to rehabilitation.

God’s system of being sold into servitude to pay one’s debt to society was clearly more humane. Not only was the offender working in a much better and safer social setting, it was fully possible one would learn a trade and certainly learn the value of honest labor. It is also conceivable that a diligent laborer could find favor with his employer and secure a good job after his sentence was completed.

God’s plan placed the responsibility of the offender’s debt upon his own shoulders. The penal system in the U.S.A. and in many, if not most countries, places the burden of the crime upon the innocent. Consider the enormity of this cost which is being shouldered by the wrong people: According to a February 7, 1994, Time magazine article, the cost of imprisonment in the United States at that time was $24,000 per person per year. By computing that cost with a 3% inflation rate per year, the cost in current U.S. dollars equals $31,315 per prisoner. Now consider the 1998 American prison population of 1,299,096 inmates, and compute the cost of housing the criminals. It is a staggering $40,300,000,000! To put this in perspective, it would take the total federal income tax of five million average tax payers to foot this bill. The servitude is being served by the wrong people.

In God’s commandments to Israel, a prison system like we know today did not exist, but there was a place for dealing with criminals called “ward.”

Leviticus, chapter 24, verses 11-14:

11 And the Israelitish woman’s son blasphemed the name of the LORD, and cursed. And they brought him unto Moses: (and his mother’s name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan:)

12 And they put him in ward, that the mind of the LORD might be shewed them.

13 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

14 Bring forth him that hath cursed without the camp; and let all that heard him lay their hands upon his head, and let all the congregation stone him.

One was kept in ward for a very short time until the facts of the issue were resolved and then punishment was exacted speedily. God’s Word declares, remember, Ecclesiastes, chapter 8, verse 11:

Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.

God’s program was swift. If one was found guilty of a crime punishable by death, the Biblical example shows that he was put to death speedily. In the American legal system, a prisoner convicted and sentenced to death can start the appeals process which can stretch over 23 years, 60 appeals and over 200 individual judicial and executive reviews. The cost of this process is enormous. The average time on death row between the years 1977 and 1995 was nine years. Not too speedy, is it? Again the cost is being shouldered by the innocent.

God made provision for those who killed someone by accident; it was called the city of refuge. Numbers, chapter 35, verses 11-15:

11 Then ye shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you; that the slayer may flee thither, which killeth any person at unawares.

12 And they shall be unto you cities for refuge from the avenger; that the manslayer die not, until he stand before the congregation in judgment.

13 And of these cities which ye shall give six cities shall ye have for refuge.

14 Ye shall give three cities on this side Jordan, and three cities shall ye give in the land of Canaan, which shall be cities of refuge.

15 These six cities shall be a refuge, both for the children of Israel, and for the stranger, and for the sojourner among them: that every one that killeth any person unawares may flee thither.

There were six of these cities.

This review, of course, is very brief, but what should be obvious is that the commandments of God are perfect. The penal system He directed to Moses to set up was swift. Rehabilitation was very likely and the cost of that rehabilitation was shouldered by the right person. When man alters God’s directives, he fails, and this is without exception.

GOD SAID, Exodus 22:1-3, GOD SAID Leviticus 24:11-14, GOD SAID Numbers 35:11-13, and Ecclesiastes 8:11.

MAN SAID: The Bible is a book of archaic principles which have no practical benefit for a modern society.

Now you have THE RECORD.



References:

King James Bible

Bureau of Justice Statistics

Bureau of Justice Statistics, Criminal Offenders Statistics, Recidivism

Tax Foundation, Summary of Federal Individual Income Tax Data, 2000

Time magazine, 02/07/94

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