APABryan Stevenson Quotes. (n.d.). Jar of Quotes. Retrieved , from JarofQuotes.com Web site: https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=americas-prisons-have-become-warehouses-for-mentally-ill-bryan-stevenson
ChicagoBryan Stevenson Quotes. Jar of Quotes, 2019. https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=americas-prisons-have-become-warehouses-for-mentally-ill-bryan-stevenson, accessed .
MLA"Bryan Stevenson Quotes." Jar of Quotes, 2019. . https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=americas-prisons-have-become-warehouses-for-mentally-ill-bryan-stevenson
We are all implicated when we allow other people to be mistreated. An absence of compassion can corrupt the decency of a community, a state, a nation. Fear and anger can make us vindictive and abusive, unjust and unfair, until we all suffer from the absence of mercy and we condemn ourselves as much as we victimize others. The closer we get to mass incarceration and extreme levels of punishment, the more I believe it's necessary to recognize that we all need mercy, we all need justice, and-perhaps-we all need some measure of unmerited grace.
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I've also represented people who have committed terrible crimes but nonetheless struggle to recover and to find redemption. I have discovered, deep in the hearts of many condemned and incarcerated people, the scattered traces of hope and humanity - seeds of restoration that come to astonishing life when nurtured by very simple interventions. Proximity has taught me some basic and humbling truths, including this vital lesson: Each of us is more than the worst thing we've ever done. My work with the poor and incarcerated has persuaded me that the opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice. Finally, I've come to believe that the true measure of our commitment to justice, the character of our society, our commitment to the rule of law, fairness, and equality cannot be measured by how we treat the rich, the powerful, the privileged, and the respected among us. The true measure of our character is how we treat the poor, the disfavored, the accused, the incarcerated, and the condemned. We are all implicated when we allow other people to be mistreated. An absence of compassion can corrupt the decency of a community, a state, a nation. Fear and anger can make us vindictive and abusive, unjust and unfair, until we all suffer from the absence of mercy and we condemn ourselves as much as we victimize others. The closer we get to mass incarceration and extreme levels of punishment, the more I believe it's never to recognize that we all need mercy, we all need justice, and - perhaps - we all need some measure of unmerited grace.
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There is a strength, a power even, in understanding brokenness, because embracing our brokenness creates a need and desire for mercy, and perhaps a corresponding need to show mercy. When you experience mercy, you learn things that are hard to learn otherwise. You see things you can't otherwise see; you hear things you can't otherwise hear. You begin to recognize the humanity that resides in each of us.
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In many ways, we've been taught to think that the real question is, 'Do people deserve to die for the crimes they've committed?' And that's a very sensible question. But there's another way of thinking about where we are in our identity. The other way of thinking about it is not 'Do people deserve to die for the crimes they commit?' but 'Do we deserve to kill?'
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Embracing a certain quotient of racial bias and discrimination against the poor is an inexorable aspect of supporting capital punishment. This is an immoral condition that makes rejecting the death penalty on moral grounds not only defensible but necessary for those who refuse to accept unequal or unjust administration of punishment.
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