An important question for philosophers in contemporary society is “How should societies respond to criminal behaviour?”
I do not believe we have free will. Instead I believe that all events, including the actions of every individual, are under the direct control of God. So God is responsible for criminal behaviour as well as law-abiding behaviour. However, we do have the illusion of free will – in the human dimension we feel that we are making decisions even if in reality we aren’t in control.
Having the illusion of free will means that we can make decisions about how to create laws, how to uphold the law, and how to deal with criminals. We can ask questions about what is logically the best way to create a good society.
It is a fact of human interaction that compassion tends to produce a compassionate response, whereas cruelty tends to create more cruelty. We can see this in the character that children develop in response to the way they are treated by their parents and by other key influencers in their lives.
I believe, therefore, that our approach to justice should be compassionate, focusing always on education, therapy, and rehabilitation, rather than punishment. Change in individuals is always possible because God can do anything, and I believe a compassionate response to criminal behavior is a better way of affecting positive change than repaying cruelty with more cruelty.
I believe that educating criminals using good reasoning and logic concerning moral action, rather than the deterrent of punishment, is the best way to produce law-abiding behavior in citizens and create progressive societies. This belief does of course rely on the notion that all human beings are potentially reasonable, which I maintain.