Restorative Justice: A Breath of Fresh Air

chuck colson

“Restorative Justice.” This new concept is being introduced by Justice Fellowship, an organization founded by the late Chuck Colson in 1983. Now I still clearly recall the Watergate scandal, President Richard Nixon, Federal Judge John Sirica and yes Chuck Colson, special counsel to the President. It was high stakes political drama and laws were broken. At the time, I felt Nixon really was a crook and should have been impeached, charged and imprisoned. President Jerry Ford, staring at the big picture, chose to absolve Nixon of any wrong doing, giving the nation a chance to heal. I sought retribution and was so wrong; Ford was right

Against the advice of legal counsel, Chuck Colson chose to plead guilty to obstruction of justice, “a price I had to pay to complete the shedding of my old life and to be free to live the new.” The rest is history, really good history. Remember, this is the man who once boasted he would walk over his own grandmother to ensure the re-election of Richard Nixon. Later on, he was quoted as saying, “the essence of restorative justice lies in how it responds to both the victim and the offender after a crime. It views crime primarily in terms of broken or destructive relationships between people rather than exclusively as an offense against society’s law. Restorative Justice focuses on repairing the harm done to the victim and on the likelihood of future harm.”

So here is a man who broke the law, served time in a federal prison camp and found Jesus along the way; then he did something about it. Now that is a breath of fresh air. Chuck Colson died away April 21st 2012 but his legacy still lives on. That may sound cliché, but if you read about the man, his journey and his organizations; it’s true. This was a man who was brilliant and brave, a lawyer and a Marine.

In closing, here is part of the mission statement of Prison Fellowship, founded by Chuck Colson in 1976, “We believe that no life is beyond the reach of God’s power, and we envision a future in which countless prisoners, ex-prisoners, and their families, are redeemed, restored, and reconciled through the love and truth of Jesus Christ.”

How true. Thanks Chuck and God bless you; with Restorative Justice, you continue to make a difference

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