Well, the sentence for first degree murder is life which means you will only be released when the president signs a paper allowing you to get out, you are allowed to appeal to the president after 10 years or such. Normally life is between 12-15 years if I recall correctly.
Murder in the second degree is max 8 years unless there are circumstances that would suggest a lower sentence is more justified.
You also sit 50% of the sentence if you are a first time criminal (Life is the exception to this rule, if you are a repeat felon you sit 75% of the sentence).
So if you murder someone and is convicted of second degree murder you will spend max 4 years in prison with 4 year probation.
You are basically given a second chance at life.
So a justice system based on Forgiveness gives you a justice system with Parole. Not that much different then the US. Just because we don't give Parole to (some, as every state has different laws) people who preform premeditated murder doesn't make our system about revenge.
2nd degree murder (according to wikipedia)
Imprisonment for life or any other term
(There is no federal parole for murder, sentencing guidelines: 19–25 years with clean record, 30-life with serious past offenses).
There is no FEDERAL parole for murder (though if tried in DC, which is considered a Federal Court, you can get Parole after 1/3 of your sentence is finished), but you can be paroled if the trial is done at a state level. In my state (New York) you can be paroled for second degree murder, along with most states in the Union. This doesn't mean you couldn't get a sentence without Parole, but that would be up to the sentencing judge (or local law based on specific factors). That aside, to be brought up on Federal murder charges you need to be someone who's under investigation by the FBI, so you're a pretty bad guy anyway.
Lets say a 20 year old is convicted of 2nd degree murder in the US, comes out at the age of 40. What will this person bring society? What valuable skills will this person have that are desirable? What if this person has no relatives to live with? or they simply refuse all contact with this person?
My guess would be to live on social benefits until able to find a job which will most likely not happen with a criminal record and especially 2nd degree murder. I'm not even sure everyone is entitled to social benefits in the US?
I'm sure there are great programs for education and rehabilitation in prison, this would explain why so few end up in there again...
You can actually earn up to a Bachelors Degree in US prisons, and most inmates spend their time studying Law while in Prison. There are also outreach programs that attempt to help convicts turn over a new leaf but they are very under funded. Compounding this is the requirement at almost all places of employment for a background check (which checks criminal history) and people being excluded (even though it's illegal) because of the check.
A smarter thing to do would be to teach them construction techniques and trade skills as opposed to getting them Human resources and Law degrees, as "blue collar" jobs tend to not look into ones background quite so much (though murder may still throw up a red flag).
I'm no expert on the subject other than personal experience but my brain tells me it might be easier to integrate someone back into society after 4 years in prison compared to 20 years...
Moot point. If we kept them in prison for a day they'd have no trouble at all reintegrating into society.
Then again with the speed at which things are developed currently, if you take a 3 year computer course what you learnt during the first year will be outdated by the time you complete your studies.
Another moot point, as this would imply that the curriculum doesn't evolve over those 3 years and is set in stone with what you would learn based on when you began the course.
I'm biased though, I look at the US justice system as a kind of slave labour institution. I would guess inmates are cheaper to employ than regular citizens, from what I saw one one documentary most number plates in the us are made by prisoners.
And they get paid for preforming jobs like that in prison. While they make far below the federal minimum wage they are still paid for their "services." The idea behind programs like that is to inspire them to try and go "legit" when they get out of prison, though it might have more of a effect if they were earning more then what they currently are paid.