“The best way to judge a society is how it treats its prisoners”, said Winston Churchill. “The degree of civilisation in a society can be judged by entering its prisons”, said Dostoevsky. The Bible gives us a pretty good basis for treating prisoners well even if their crime, their attitude and their behaviour offend us. We've to remember prisoners as if we were their fellow inmates but why?
Here's an EXCELLENT reason! We ARE their fellow prisoners!
Romans 7:21b-23 says: "When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members." What was that? I'm a prisoner too? Well, yeah, I suppose I am. And if I am it's certainly easier to remember those in prison as if I were their fellow prisoner. Too right I am. "For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do - this I keep on doing" (Romans 7:18b,19).
I guess I'm just lucky that the things that tempt me aren't illegal so my sins are not crimes. But I'm in prison just the same, like good old Paul before me.