Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Keeping the Focus on the Victims

By Keith Wallington

April 22 is a very important week as it recognizes victims from all over the country. This week also serves as a reminder that too many times we ignore the real needs and concerns of victims in a rush to advance other agendas. In order to truly recognize victims we need to invest in the needs and concerns of victims to help them heal from whatever ordeal they have experienced. In many cases, victims simply want to be recognized by the justice system and not utilized. Despite a growth in victim involvement since the early 1980s, research has shown that victims may not believe that justice has been served in their case, and may be left feeling re-victimized by the process. Additionally, there has been a propensity by those on the left to use victims to achieve a less retributive justice system and by those on the right to use victims to promote a more retributive justice system; both with damaging effects on the system.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Guest Post: Faith Leaders Opposed to Prison Privatization

By Dr. Iva Carruthers

Several months ago I was blessed to meet a young man, Marcus, whose story is not unlike so many young African American young men who find themselves on the other side of a prison cell.

Marcus lived a challenging life, made some bad choices and was convicted of a non-violent drug possession charge. What makes his story different is that he found a new way forward. Just before his release on parole, Marcus was connected to a mentorship program that encouraged artists who were incarcerated. This mentorship program was created by one faithful person who takes seriously the charge to “Remember those who are in prison, as though you were there in prison with them…” (Hebrews 13:3).

Thursday, April 5, 2012

To Be Free at Last with Michelle Alexander

By Zerline Hughes

Earlier this year, I had the honor of attending the annual convening of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference an event that brings together instrumental faith leaders from around the country in an effort to come to one accord on how to bring together congregations and communities to address the various causes that need their advocacy and attention.

The Justice Policy Institute’s involvement with the Proctor Conference stemmed from an invitation from New York Times bestselling author, Michelle Alexander. She is working with the SDPC on its To Be Free at Last movement, a national campaign to end mass incarceration. Alexander’s bestseller, “The New Jim Crow: Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” has rallied varied communities, -- scholars, practitioners, faith based and grassroots organizations and the families of those incarcerated – to seriously tackle the ills of our criminal justice system.