A HISTORIC MOMENT FOR THE CHURCH IN AMERICA
Today, close to 100 prominent Christian leaders signed the Justice Declaration. Grounded in biblical values, the Justice Declaration is a call to the Church to deploy its unique and unparalleled capacity to respond to crime and over-incarceration.
A FLAWED HISTORY
Our country's over-reliance on incarceration is often justified as a means to promote public safety. But in reality, over-incarceration fails to make us safer or restore the people and communities who have been harmed.
Our misguided response to crime has had pervasive, devastating, and long-lasting consequences for individuals … and American society as a whole.
Did you know that the United States locks up more of its citizens than any other nation? There are nearly 2.2 million Americans behind bars, 2.7 million children have a parent in prison, and nearly 65 million people are hobbled by the consequences of a criminal conviction.
THE COST OF INCARCERATION
The United States spends $70 billion on corrections every year, but the public's return on investment in incarceration is poor.
These outrageous shortcomings in America's current system lead to high rates of recidivism. They also lead to broken families and distressed neighborhoods.
In fact, our current system actually endangers public safety.
THE JUSTICE DECLARATION
Prison Fellowship and several key partners, including the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the Charles Colson Center for Christian Worldview, and the National Association of Evangelicals are joining close to 100 Christian leaders in launching the Justice Declaration.
"A recent Barna poll commissioned by Prison Fellowship found that 87 percent of Americans–and an even slightly higher rate among practicing Christians–agree with Prison Fellowship that the primary goal of the justice system should be restoration for all involved–the victim, the community, and the person responsible for the crime," says James Ackerman, president and chief executive officer of Prison Fellowship.
"Sadly, we as the Church have not recognized that disproportional punishment–giving someone more than they deserve–is inconsistent with our values and certainly will not help us advance the restorative justice system we all seek.
"That's why the Justice Declaration is needed now more than ever. On account of our Christian faith, we call for a justice system that is fair and redemptive for all."
Prison Fellowship encourages all followers of Christ to add their names and take action with us. Let's restore those impacted by crime and incarceration! Together, we can advocate for a restorative system that considers the worth and the potential of each person as made in the image of God—victims and survivors, prisoners and returning citizens, families and communities.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Take a stand for justice that restores! Sign the Justice Declaration, and learn more about additional opportunities to take action on behalf of those affected by the crisis of over-incarceration.