Criminal Justice Reform
Our Five Pillars of Social Justice
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SUMMARY OF THE ISSUE
- Incarceration has increased more than 500% in the last 40 years; currently there are 2.2 million people in prison or jail in the United States. The rate of incarceration is 6,412 per 100,000 black males in the 30–34-year-old age group; a stunning 1 in 16 are imprisoned on any given day.
- Half of the people in federal prison are serving time for drug offenses. This is a direct result of mandatory minimum sentencing policies.
- Tens of millions have some type of criminal record, which can present obstacles to employment, housing, public assistance, education, and family reunification. 6.1 million Americans cannot vote because of felony convictions.
- There are 2,632 people currently on death row in the United States. Of that number, 41.53% or 1130 are African American. The top five Jurisdictions with the most death row inmates are California, Florida, Texas, Alabama and Pennsylvania. Data sources: Death Row Information Center and the Sentencing Project
- Prison/Reentry Ministry: Individuals who are at risk for incarceration, currently incarcerated or recently released need assistance in entering the main stream society and getting their lives on the right path.
- Legislative Issues: Many communities throughout the country are considering issues, laws and regulations of reform in the criminal justice system.
- Death Penalty: Every major city has a program dedicated to handling death penalty issues.
- The non-profit organization, The Sentencing Project, monitors legislative issues affecting the criminal justice system in every state. Check out their website to determine how you can help with spreading the word and networking with others about areas of reform in the criminal justice system in your respective area.
- Healing Communities USA, Inc. offers a faith based approach to assisting the individual and his/her family through the process. Check out their website to determine whether your church community would be interested in this approach to providing assistance and reform.
- The Innocence Project has been involved in various reform efforts and legislative initiatives to have the death penalty reformed, providing assistance to those wrongfully accused or working to abolish the penalty. Check your local community for this agency if you are interested in assisting those on death row, in death penalty reform or eradication of the death penalty.
- The Council of State Government Justice Center (CSG), National Institute of Justice, National Reentry Resource Center, Brennan Center for Justice Recommended Reading: The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander; Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
- Recommended Partnerships: NOBLE (National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Officers), NAACP, Urban League
COUNCILS/COURTS ARE ENCOURAGED TO
- Educate themselves, their parishes and broader community on the above issues. • Develop service projects and other programs concentrating on criminal justice reform.
- Partner with an organization involved with criminal justice reform.
- Please let us know if you have developed a program within your community, send pictures, fliers and other information documenting your efforts.
If you are interested in working on this committee, please contact us via the information provided below.
Brother Charles Brooks (Cn. 297 – Newark, New Jersey) (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lady Jill N. Benoit (Ct. 52 – New Orleans, Louisiana) (email@example.com)