What does a justice system based on "forgiveness" do? I'm actually quite curious as to what that entails.
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.
The same crimes in the US would be either a death sentence or life (you actually spend the rest of your life in prison be it 50-100years you spend in there) depending on what state you live in.
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).
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...
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...
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things are developed currently, if you take a 3 year computer course what you learnt during the first year will be outdated by the time you complete your studies.
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.
Then again I heard that prisoners in China are put on computers to farm gold in WoW and other mmos as a way of earning money, sounds silly but it wouldn't surprise me if it was true.