Court of Appeals Judge Wendell Griffen, who’s in a re-election contest this year, is interviewed by Ethics Daily to elaborate on remarks the judge and ordained minister had made at a recent church conference.
Baptists should condemn the idea that incarceration cures crime, advocate just alternatives to prison and work to reclaim and restore persons leaving the penal system, says an appellate judge and ordained Baptist minister.
“If I told you that I could cure cancer or AIDS, you would pay attention,” Wendell Griffen, the third-most senior member of the Arkansas Court of Appeals, said in an e-mail interview with EthicsDaily.com. “If I then said that my cure consists of building more cemeteries and hiring more morticians, you would certainly reject my suggested cure.”
But Griffen said that is the very reasoning behind America’s approach to curing the problem of crime. “Building more jails and prisons and hiring more jailers and prison guards is to solving crime as building cemeteries and hiring morticians is to curing cancer or AIDS,” he said.
“That does not mean that we don’t need cemeteries and morticians, prisons and jails and jailers and guards,” he said. “However, we should never believe that we are stopping crime or eliminating life-threatening diseases by those approaches.”