Prison Fellowship® believes seeking justice calls us to champion justice that restores both for individuals and for entire systems that have been broken. That’s why we advocate for a criminal justice system that prioritizes fairness, community safety, and rehabilitation.
From making sure punishment fits the crime to unlocking second chances, our advocacy team and network of grassroots and faith leaders have made a difference. Amid growing concerns about rising violence and a challenging political climate, a view of justice that is based in biblical values is critically important. Thank you for your continued support as we advocate for justice that restores prisoners, returning citizens, their families, and their communities.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM IN THE STATES
When the Sooner State convened its 2022 legislative session, Prison Fellowship set its sights on increasing economic opportunity for Oklahomans with a criminal record and modernizing the state’s sentencing code.
To the east, in the Old Dominion, Prison Fellowship partnered with champions in the General Assembly, as well as Justice Ambassadors and advocates, to support voting rights restoration and more effective processes within the Commonwealth’s occupational licensing system.
In Tennessee, Prison Fellowship staff and advocates mobilized against harmful legislation that would remove key rehabilitation incentives for people behind bars, while simultaneously pushing for fairness and transparency in state sentencing laws.
Prison Fellowship staff and advocates in Michigan spent the early months of 2022 building support for a package of pretrial justice reforms alongside faith leaders and legislative champions. Michigan’s legislative session continues through the end of 2022, and we will continue to engage lawmakers on pretrial justice policies that advance pretrial liberty and public safety.
Prison Fellowship staff and advocates in Ohio spent 2022 building out our work in the Buckeye State, with advocacy focused on pretrial justice and barriers to success.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM ON CAPITOL HILL
The U.S. Senate declared April 2022 as Second Chance Month, highlighting the work of Prison Fellowship and more than 700 partners breaking barriers for the 1 in 3 Americans with a criminal record. The Biden administration and more than 25 jurisdictions officially observed April as Second Chance Month with declarations and events.
Prison Fellowship is deeply engaged in movement of the Law Enforcement De-escalation Training Act, which would expand access to quality law enforcement training on topics related to alternatives to use of force, de-escalation, and crisis intervention. Through direct lobbying, grassroots advocacy, and collaboration with mental health, law enforcement, and faith partners, Prison Fellowship has helped to secure 17 additional cosponsors for the bill. Following the Senate’s unanimous passage of the bill in August, the House of Representatives passed this legislation in December and sent it to the President’s desk.
Prison Fellowship has continued to build up support for the EQUAL Act. Through critical media placements, direct lobbying, and grassroots advocacy, we helped secure six additional cosponsors to the legislation in 2022 and the incorporation of the legislation as an amendment into the House of Representatives’ initial National Defense Authorization Act bill. More than 50 Justice Ambassadors, Prison Fellowship staff, and faith leaders directly lobbied their lawmakers on this bill through virtual and in-person lobbying days. Prison Fellowship is working with faith based, law enforcement, and civil rights partners to move this critical reform over the finish line before the close of the 117th Congress.
In addition to these primary initiatives, Prison Fellowship is supporting efforts to improve federal supervision practices, promote fairer sentencing, reduce barriers to health care for men and women leaving prison and jail, and help states move away from driver’s license suspensions for failure to pay court debt.
30,000+ Advocates from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., called on their lawmakers to pursue justice that restores.
250+ advocates have been specially trained as Justice Ambassadors, including seven graduates from a pilot track elevating the voices of formerly incarcerated people.
IN THE NEWS
- Transparency in Sentencing for Victims Act creates transparency, gives Tennesseans second chance, The Tennessean, March 15, 2022
- Our Take: It’s Time to Get Pretrial Justice Right in Michigan, Holland Sentinel, March 29, 2022
- A missed opportunity to restore opportunity and dignity, Roanoke Times, March 31, 2022
- Prison Fellowship Statement on Biden Administration’s Clemency and Reentry Initiatives, April 26, 2022
- Oklahoma Eliminates Licensing Barriers for People with Criminal Records, Institute for Justice, May 17, 2022
- EQUAL Act backers rally for Senate action on new drug sentencing norms, Washington Times, June 8, 2022
- North Dakota lawmakers, advocates push for equal sentencing in federal cocaine and crack crimes, KYFR TV, July 12, 2022
- Prison Fellowship Statement on Senate Passage of Law Enforcement De-escalation Training Act, August 3, 2022
- After Memphis Killings, officials push harsher sentencing laws, Associated Press, September 8, 2022
- Muskegon police, faith leaders meet to build trust, Wood 8 TV, December 3rd, 2022
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