Prison Fellowship® is looking forward to an exciting year advancing justice reform. Here are the highlights and what to expect:
APRIL IS SECOND CHANCE MONTH!
Prison Fellowship is declaring April as Second Chance Month–a month devoted to raising awareness about the "second prison" and opportunities to unlock second chances for those who have paid their debt. One in four adults in America have a criminal record which limits their access to education, jobs, housing, and other things necessary for a full and productive life.
If you share our passion for unlocking the potential of people trapped in the second prison, we want to partner with you!
- Express your support for Second Chance Month through coordinated petitions and social media. Donate your signature today!
- Celebrate "Second Chance Sunday" in April at your local church. Our forthcoming toolkit will help you prepare for a Sunday service on redemption, second chances, and prayer for families impacted by the long-term effects of a criminal record.
- We're excited to announce that we will be holding two Second Chances 5K runs in April. We hope these events will raise awareness of the many limitations and restrictions former prisoners face after their release. Our Second Chances 5K Runs will be held in Denver and Paul. Prison Fellowship is looking for participants and church sponsors.
THE NEW ADMINISTRATION
This week, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Al) was confirmed as the U.S. attorney general by the Senate. Sen. Sessions has supported some prison reforms in the past, although not all.
Bipartisan interest in criminal justice reform keeps Prison Fellowship hopeful for progress in the future.
"With the Trump administration taking form, we pray that support will grow for prison reform," says Craig DeRoche, Prison Fellowship's senior vice president for advocacy and public policy. "Sentencing reform may become more difficult in the short term, but there remains strong bipartisan support for improving the culture in prisons."
Your federal lawmakers need to hear from you about why prison reform matters! Send a message to your elected officials using our easy online platform. Every voice counts!
THINK OUTSIDE THE BARS
Think Outside the Bars is Prison Fellowship’s advocacy campaign to promote alternatives to incarceration and more proportionate sentencing in key states. Here are a few highlights:
TEXAS: RAISE THE AGE
On Jan. 30, Prison Fellowship's Kate Trammell spoke at a press conference on the issues of raising the age of juvenile court jurisdiction. She also helped lead a youth lobby day in Austin, Texas.
"The effort to raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction is a truly impactful opportunity for policymakers to think outside the bars without compromising public safety," Trammell explained. "Most of the 17-year-olds arrested in Texas are facing minor or nonviolent charges, yet they are excluded from meaningful opportunities for education, rehabilitation, and mentorship opportunities that they could benefit from in the juvenile system."
By passing this reform, Texans can stand for the value of each young person and reduce a lifetime of collateral consequences.
OKLAHOMA: GOV. FALLIN FOR RESTORATIVE JUSTICE
Gov. Mary Fallin is leading the way for justice reform in Oklahoma. Last year, the governor charged the Oklahoma Justice Reform Task Force (OJRTF) with finding ways that the state could reduce recidivism and control fast-rising corrections costs.
"Oklahoma is in a crisis," the governor said in a press release on Feb. 2. "We must make our communities safer and address the high costs of our corrections system. I am confident that we can ensure that Oklahomans get the best public safety return on their tax dollars, and am grateful to the task force for exploring how we might do so."
The task force's recommendations advance restorative justice in Oklahoma. The plan provides a better and more efficient justice system.
To read Gov. Fallin's press release, click here. A summary of the OJRTF policy recommendations is available there as well.