Second Chances: Forgiveness in High School vs the American Judicial System

Second chances: a phrase often associated with forgiveness. Whether it be forgiving a person because they made a mistake, or giving a relationship a second chance, people give out second chances all the time. Choosing to give someone a second chance is a deliberate decision. Analyzing the magnitude of the situation is critical before reestablishing trust. 

Empathy, or an awareness of the feelings and emotions of others, influences people to reconcile their relationships. Unavoidably, everyone makes mistakes. Thus, when someone close to us, or even a stranger, does something wrong unintentionally, the anger that results tends to fade after putting ourselves in their shoes. If a desire to forgive exists, healing the relationship is always possible. There is always some flexibility when it comes to understanding another person’s mistakes. Amanda Aujero, an RHS junior, believes “It is okay to give someone a second chance, but if they mess up, cut them off. I personally have been let down by someone I’ve given multiple chances to in the past. I have learned the signs of a bad friend and now do not let them into my life.” However, Sophie Benecick, also a junior, explains that “second chances are only okay when the person giving them out feels right in doing so.” She also mentions that “it depends on how bad the situation is.”

According to The Art of Second Chances published by Psychology-Today, psychologists working in prisons are experts in second chances. Marisa Mauro, a clinical psychologist at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, mentions that even the legal systems can see from an offender’s perspective. Though lawyers must set their emotions aside to objectively evaluate their defendants’ possible crime and punishment, it is nearly impossible to ignore emotions or feelings of sympathy. Mauro also indicates that the legal system is not perfect. Fair punishment can only be administered when an individual is psychologically evaluated. A fitting sentence may not be given when quick emotions like anger interfere with judgement.

Mauro’s indications confirm that everyone is capable of giving out second chances. That is, everyone who is equipped with the ability to empathize. Before deciding whether or not to give a second chance, examine the individual situation itself rather than hastily making poor decisions. Evaluate how you feel about the situation. It is always most important to cater to your needs and emotions before anybody else’s for the sake of your personal health. An unhealthy relationship that causes unnecessary pain in your life is one that does not deserve any more chances.

Mary Skrzypczak

staff writer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *