(Re)Thinking Justice

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As a kid who grew up Lutheran, studied criminal justice in college, and graduated law school, justice has been on my mind most of my life. Everyone supposedly knows what it is. Nobody really agrees on it. One person’s notion of justice is going to be different from someone else’s. For something so important (every justice system, in theory, has the power to change someone’s life), it doesn’t get looked at very much.

One big reason is that justice is this thing that everyone assumes is part of an ongoing process. The process isn’t perfect, but it’s been refined. It’s very rare that someone stops and asks if what we’re doing is desirable in the first place. Those people get ignored, because our justice process works just good enough.

By and large, people who do terrible things get caught. But they don’t always get caught. Even worse, some people get to make the rules so that whatever they do will never be caught.

There are hidden defects in most systems that try to do justice. If there’s anything I write that I want people to read, this subject is high on that list. Justice is important to any society. It is one of the aspirations that make societies worth having. Thus, it is one of those things that people might want to have a closer look at.