Stanley Yelnats, our main squeeze in Holes, is convicted of a crime that he didn't commit. And he doesn't get off easy, either. How's that for lack of justice? But the theme of justice and judgment in this book goes beyond the issue of the modern criminal justice system. We also see human beings passing judgment on their fellow citizens. Plus, we get a sense that the world has its own system of justice that can end up messing with some pretty innocent people. Over and over in the book, people invoke ideas of justice to justify (nifty how that works out, huh?) their own needs, prejudices, and desires. Making sense of all these different ideas can be difficult, but doing so is one way to help us understand the characters and their motivations.
All the unjust things that happen in the book suggest that no system of justice administered by human beings – who are always flawed and self-interested – really works.
The book's ending, where Stanley is cleared and allowed to go home, suggests that the justice system, although not perfect, eventually gets things right.