Michigan Faith Leaders Send Joint Letter to State Legislators in Support of Criminal Justice Reform
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Prison Fellowship®, the nation's largest Christian nonprofit serving prisoners, former prisoners, and their families, is joining with other faith leaders in Michigan in supporting criminal justice reform.
In the letter addressed to Michigan state lawmakers, faith leaders are calling for a criminal justice system that is fair and redemptive for our fellow neighbors who are incarcerated and restores people who are reentering society.
"No life is beyond redemption as each human being, including those who commit crime and the victims of crime, is made in God’s image," said Heather Rice-Minus, SVP of Advocacy and Church Mobilization. "That makes us all worthy of respect, protection, and care. Criminal justice reform in Michigan needs a biblical solution that sees people the way God sees them—as created in His image—and treats them accordingly. Whether currently incarcerated or as returning citizens, people should be provided avenues for personal transformation and a second chance."
LETTER TO THE MICHIGAN LEGISLATURE
In the letter, the coalition of Michigan faith leaders asked lawmakers to consider the following guiding biblical principles in working to reform the criminal justice system:
- Each human being, including those who commit crime and the victims of crime, is a person made in God's own image, with a life worthy of respect, protection, and care.
- Accountability for crime should be community-based and local where possible, recognizing that cultivation of the seedbeds of virtue, such as families and churches, pays dividends in reducing crime.
- Appropriate avenues should be provided for personal transformation and a second chance.
- Punishment should be proportional to the act committed, advancing public safety, fostering accountability, and providing opportunities to make amends.
- Rehabilitation of those formerly incarcerated should include, where not prohibited by public safety concerns, restoration of the rights and privileges previously lost in order to foster their ability to become productive citizens and taxpayers in society.