Office of Government Relations

Get Involved with Criminal Justice Reform

September 4, 2018
Office of Government Relations

You may have heard about the ongoing, three-week prison strike organized by prisoners across the country in part to raise awareness of low wages for inmates, harsh sentences, and deteriorating facilities. You can see the list of demands and ideas for how to help in this press release.

Many criminal justice reform efforts must take place at the state and local levels, where the authority to make such changes lies, and the Office of Government Relations encourages you to get involved locally through advocacy to elected officials in your state, county and city, and to seek out local prison ministry opportunities throughout the Episcopal Church.

On the national level, we are continuing to engage Congress on reforms that can be enacted from that level, and we have an opportunity for you to engage Congress on the issue by taking action through this action alert on criminal justice and sentencing reform.

The recent General Convention in July passed several resolutions related to criminal justice reform calling on the church to get engaged in addressing this important topic.

New ways Convention calls on the church to engage elements of our criminal justice system include:

  1. Remove the loophole language of Amendment XIII to the U.S. Constitution authorizing legal slavery past 1865
  2. Reduce some mandatory minimum sentences, eliminate provisions for life without parole, investigate race and gender disparities in sentencing, and reducing employers’ and landlords’ access to certain previous criminal records
  3. Enact measures to reduce instances of violence by police against people suffering from mental illness
  4. Condemn prolonged solitary confinement
  5. Abolish the death penalty

The Office of Government Relations