In today’s final installment of TED’s wrongful conviction series, David Dow points out the uncomfortable connection between childhood environment and eventually being sentenced to the death sentence. About three quarters of death row inmates have a history in the juvenile justice system. How can we break this link and help end this link? Dow has some ideas, some of which hit close to home. The one that hit me most was the connection to getting these kids out of their dysfunctional homes. As adoptive parents of foster children, we know something about the cycle that leads to trouble. The biological mother of our children didn’t have a clue how to parent, largely because her mom didn’t know how to parent. The biological grandmother was in and out of trouble with the law, so how was her daughter to know how to stay out of trouble.
There are costs to this intervention before the crime, but it is more than paid off by not having to investigate the crime and incarcerate or kill the criminal. That doesn’t even count the savings in treating victims or counseling victims and their families. These are important ideas we need to consider, and solutions that sound more like Christ than some of the other solutions that I have heard.