The age old debate over free will and determinism is as relevant today as ever.
If we have significant amounts of free will, then people deserve what they get, now and forever. Punishment and retribution are justified. We may offer forgiveness and second chances, but it will be limited and temporary.
On the other hand, if most of our free will is an illusion and most people's fate is determined by nature, nurture and who they know (as growing evidence suggests), then we have two options. We will either ignore the less fortunate in our society and try to minimize their cost; or we will excercise compassion toward them by establishing economic safety nets, rehabilitation programs or some type of protective custody when rehabilitation fails.
Most of our current political debates, locally and nationally, can be understood using these 3 modalities.