“The New Jim Crow:” Mass Incarceration and Its Impact

black-congregation-350WHEREAS, according to the Center for Center for Law and Justice in a summary of the book by author Michelle Alexander, notes that “more African Americans are under the control of the criminal justice system today – in prison or jail, on probation or parole – than were enslaved in 1850”; AND

WHEREAS, it is widely known that formerly incarcerated persons face discrimination, prejudice and stigma in housing, education, employment, and voting rights because of the “felon” label; AND

WHEREAS, the Bureau of Justice Statistics notes 1 in 15 African American men are incarcerated, 1 in 3 African American men are expected to go to prison; AND

WHEREAS, the Department of Education further notes African American students are arrested more often than other racial groups and that 58% of African American youth are sent to adult prisons; AND

WHEREAS, the Center for American Progress further notes African American women are 3 times more likely than white women to be incarcerated, that 11 states deny the right to vote of more than 10% of their African American population;

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED, that member churches of the AFRICAN AMERICAN MINISTERS IN ACTION encourage written personal testimonies of persons, from the pulpit to the pew, on the quality of life impact of incarceration on individuals and families and the role of faith in their journey for posting on their respective denominations’ websites to speak to the heart and spirit of others and thereby removing stigma, shame and isolation; AND

BE IT MOREOVER RESOLVED, that the member churches of AFRICAN AMERICAN MINISTERS IN ACTION evaluate their prison/re-entry/re-integration programs/ministries to include information for empowerment from sources such as the Sentencing Project and the Brennan Law Center as it relates to discriminatory practices that can create obstacles to citizenship and civic responsibility while contributing to recidivism; AND

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that members, officers and supporters of the AFRICAN AMERICAN MINISTERS IN ACTION join in cities, and/or initiate efforts in their city to “ban the box” (are you, or have you ever been convicted of a felony?) on employment applications which serve as a hindrance and provides a unnecessary dilemma for persons attempting to become contributing residents/citizens post incarceration and report “what man meant for harm, God meant for good” to the regional Vice-Presidents and/or at the regional meetings; AND

LeonardBJacksonBE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the AFRICAN AMERICAN MINISTERS IN ACTION actively participate in the revived call to end racial disparities in criminal justice policies and practices, documenting efforts of its member churches and including a report at the annual session all that is being done to address and end mass incarceration and the negative impact on families and communities.

Rev. Leonard B. Jackson
Justice Not Jails

About Leonard Leonard

Rev. Leonard B. Leonard is a Senior Consultant to Justice Not Jails. He served on the Executive Staff, as Senior Advisor to the L.A. Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, a position that linked city government to the multi-faith communities of Los Angeles. He served as Associate Minister at the First African Methodist Episcopal Church, Los Angeles, for 20 years, as Director of Community Outreach. A retired U.S. Army combat veteran, he continues to serve on the front lines of society where the rubber meets the road. He is LA Police Department Chaplain, Specialist Reserve.

Comments

  1. Poor education leads to successful prisons; the church must communicate to those behind the concert wall and those who has cross-over back into society that the church is here to serve; and support “Justice Not jails”.