The Criminal Justice Reform Group is comprised of a number of individuals in our community with an interest in learning about the inequities in the criminal justice system in our county, state, and country. The group considers ways we can get involved at both an individual and a systemic level to make an impact in reducing inequities and the results of those inequities, which have a disproportionate impact on people of color.
The group meets monthly to discuss news articles, books, and podcasts highlighting the challenges individuals, and particularly persons of color, face when interacting with law enforcement and the criminal justice system, and to plan initiatives. The group seeks to
- Identify organizations to work with (or support) in their efforts to impact legislation aimed at reforming the justice system, such as Equal Justice Initiative, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
- Identify organizations where individuals can volunteer to encounter and support those who are impacted by the justice system – the incarcerated, those returning to society from prisons, families of the incarcerated, and criminalized juveniles. Some members are already involved with Prison Fellowship and Kairos.
- Educate the congregation through voter guides outlining county and state candidates’ positions on criminal justice and policing, as well as though other initiatives such as a planned panel discussion on the impact of mass incarceration, to include the personal experiences of people formerly incarcerated.
You are invited to get involved with this work by joining the monthly meetings, held via zoom on the third Tuesday of each month, 7:30 – 8:30 pm. You can also join the mailing list to keep up on activities, even if you can’t attend the meetings. Contact Kate Thomas or Dave Martinsen for details.