The Justice Sytem: A Discussion with Pastor Rich Schwoegler

What is Justice?

Justice at its core is the ability to fairly judge and/or enforce ruling. In a more profound analysis, justice is to see all people through the eyes of God, thus, enabling us to chastises one another by holding each other accountable of our actions, as God does. This allows us to change things within ourselves that are wrong and that go against God’s nature.

Who is Pastor Rich Schwoegler?

Pastor Rich Schwoegler served as police officer for 27 years in Milwaukee, WI. Now, he is a Pastor, Chaplain, and one of many critics of our current justice system.

His greatest concern is that our system is a punitive system in which the incarcerated individuals are set up to fail. He shared:

“originally, the justice system was set up to change a person’s behavior, which society deemed wrong. I am not sure the vision carried out its purpose to rehabilitate people coming through the system in changing their behavior. I believe the current system that is in place produces worse people than they were before incarceration.”

Pastor Schwoegler suggests a change in philosophy, where, rather than punishing, the system would include a process of rehabilitation or a healing process.

A New Philosophy

Pastor Schwoegler describes the following:

“the system would still be in place with a trial, courts, etc., except there would be a mandated ruling to begin healing in an individual. For this to take effect, we first must ask, ‘Why have they done what they did? What is the root problem?’”

He considered that counselors, psychologists, ministers, and other spiritual, or faith based people would be a part of this healing process, emphasizing that ministers must take a more active role.

Photograph by: Ana Barajas

Photograph by: Ana Barajas

Pastor Schwoegler mentioned that a jail system would still be in place for the hard core crimes including rape or murder. However, individuals would still receive council in jail and after jail. He suggested:

“while in jail and then coming out of jail people would continue to attend healing sessions, and a reentry program must be mandatory. It would not be hard to make this happen, a team of people can wrap around each incarcerated person and their families as well. We then build relationships, thus seeking to destroy the root problems and we empower them to make changes. Upon being released from jail, the individual would pick a program, a dream center, or religious organization where he/she would take up the healing process. The program can be a one year long mentoring/discipleship program to acclimate them back into society, while teaching them new skills, and most importantly providing healing to rooted issues.”

Lastly, Pastor Schwoegler suggested that the law enforcement should be held accountable to train police officers by teaching them to identify the root cause of a situation. Pastor Schwoegler addressed:

“right now, the solution to a police response is a quick fix, they don’t have time to deal with so many calls and honestly it isn’t their role to fix the problem, but, they should have the tools to refer victims and perpetrators to get the help they need. Police officers should be trained to assess the situation and refer people to jobs, GED programs, churches, or dream centers. When they respond to calls they need to look “out of the box” and identify how they can help to solve a problem, when police officers do that, their job becomes more satisfactory and joyous. It changes their perspective of the people as well.”


Pastor Schwoegler’s Surrender All Ministries program called Community Healing Integrative Program is a combination of different groups working together to bring change to the community including: police officers, government, churches, and nonprofit organizations. You can read a more profound analysis on community unity to create change by reading my article Building Trust Between the Police and the People: A Community Initiative.

Pastor Schwoegler strongly emphasis:

“the time is now and there are no excuses! Each one of us has an awesome destiny that God preordained for each of our lives! It is up to us to make the changes we are seeking in our cities. Our destinies have people attached to them and they are waiting for us! We need to look at each person the way God sees them, loving them and empowering them to change the things in their lives, through the supernatural love of Christ!”

Pastor/Chaplain Richard Schweogler

(262) 227-1987


  • This is well written but though the eyes of others that have never wore the shoes of an incarcerated individual that was or is incarcerated. Change behavior is not the issues it’s a sin issue. Though my eyes justice is being treated equal. How do we expect healing or restoration, trust between law enforcement and the incarcerated individual, chips, ect. where injustice is apart of the broke down of individuals, family, community ect. We are so apt to make changes from our perspective without asking the incarcerated how can we help them help themselves. How can we make changes for another from our perspective when we never experienced the side the incarcerated lived or make a assumption with out admitting fact that injustice was cause with in a broken system?

    • starnmakin_7966e1s7

      Very thought-provoking post. What is the breakdown in the Justice System? What examples are there that exist?

    • I agree. It is a sin issue. That is why the system needs Jesus, Thus, Godly people to help the hurting people. This includes the perpetrators and the victims. If you would like further information please attend an event lead by Dr. April Bernad, the annual MCJA Conference (will take place September 22-23 in Hilton Garden Inn Chicago.). We will respond to your questions and others.

  • Laurie Czerwinski

    My prayers and thoughts are with your ideas for progression in treating the prisoners ( I think the newest term for it is: Criminal Justice Involved Individuals). I saw an Inmate was being called into a meeting room in which the inmate was about to be informed that his older brother had passed away via a social worker; As we were waiting, he mentioned that he was being released in one month, and, I told him that Prison Aftercare Network has some good resources when he does get out. For that, I was punished and eventually, was told I was being terminated. I quit before that happened but, I ‘know’ that you are Correct about who is in charge, then, of ‘treating’ the incarcerated. Also,they would constantly and consistently swear and say ‘shut up’ to the inmates. ( This is Not taught at the corrections academy; they teach the opposite, but the wrong way is the current real practice/ rule).So, if the inmate does not make any appointments with any social worker or psychologist, which is available to them,..WHO is treating them? You are right.

  • Annabelle Panaligan

    Wow, this is great, yes if only people in the justice system understand that the root cause of most cases is not only sin, but it is spiritual issues.. at the back of the crimes being committed is the demonic forces that pushes people to do it.. and this people, what they need is what mention, they need the healing, they need help.. and only people that carry the love of Jesus can help them..not putting them behind bars and brand them as the worse people. They can be put to jail but if this plan will be materialized, people enters jail become a better person when they come out..this new philosophy is very brilliant idea that if this one will be materialized it can be a good help in the Society..

  • Annabelle Panaligan

    I was so judgemental before, I hate people doing bad, I hate prostitute, I hate rapist, I hate thief and all..but when I become deeper with my relationship with the Lord, my heart changed, I hate sin but I love people. I come to the point that I pity them, they are just a victim of demonic strongholds, and what they needed is freedom from that bondage.. and how can they become free, if no mature and spiritual people will go to them and pay attention to their needs. They are like people with cancer, they needs treatment because if not, they will die with it and not only that they will die with it, they will inflict others too because that is the plan of the devil.. that is why, my passion to reach out the lost becomes more and more in my heart each day.. because I do believe that if there are passionate people that will give there time in showing love and telling them the deep love of God to them and pray for them, they can be changed.

    • starnmakin_7966e1s7

      Thank you for your participation! Many people in our society don’t recognize a such thing as sin, how can we introduce this concept to people who don’t recognize it?

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