Transformational Justice in Action Campaign
Gamaliel’s campaign to end mass incarceration and reform the criminal justice system.
Decarceration - Good Policy Now and After!
In this time of pandemic, the fragility of our democracy, the predatory nature of our economy, and the precarious condition of our communities—especially low income communities and communities of color—are being laid bare.
The coronavirus is infecting and killing black people in the United States at disproportionately high rates, according to data released by several states and big cities. For example in Chicago, African-Americans account for more than half of those who have tested positive and 72 percent of virus-related fatalities in that city, even though they make up a little less than a third of the population. Their susceptibility is not, however, tied to individual behaviors; rather, their susceptibility to the virus and death during this pandemic is tied to the racial character of inequality in the United States.
In spite of the narrative that we live in a post-racial society, racial inequality is still seen in all aspects of life in this country. From type of and access to employment (and lack thereof) to inadequate healthcare and housing, people of color—through centuries of racially inequitable public policy— continue to lack the wealth and opportunity to protect themselves from the ravages of this pandemic.
This is being played out in our jails, prisons, and detention centers which are also disproportionately populated by people of color. For those confined to these places, especially those that are overcrowded, it is impossible for inmates to adhere to the kinds of “social distancing” measures that public health experts recommend in order to stop or slow the spread of this dangerous and highly infectious virus.
As a nation-wide network of people of faith and people committed to racial and economic justice, Gamaliel is concerned for the public health and safety of all people across this globe and, in particular, the most vulnerable among us. To that end we call on our decision-makers to take aggressive and immediate steps to reduce the number of people being held in our prisons, jails, and detention centers. It is good public policy now in the midst of a pandemic, and it will be good public policy after the pandemic ends.
A Look at Gamaliel’s Criminal Justice Work
Integrated Voter Engagement is designed to change narratives. In the leadup to the 2020 election, Gamaliel affiliates nationwide used IVE to do just that by growing their bases, moving issue campaigns, and connecting the democratic process to local issues. But in Wisconsin, Gamaliel statewide affiliate WISDOM worked with first-time voters and incarcerated people to make…Read More
The current criminal justice system in the U.S. is the inevitable outcome of centuries of systemic racism and economic inequity. Societal failure to ensure quality employment, housing, education, and healthcare (including behavioral health and mental health) to huge numbers of people—especially poor people and people of color—combined with an calculated, insidious legislative, regulatory, and judicial…Read More
Strategy 1: Create greater awareness and an alternative vision in the broader community, starting with the faith community At its core, mass incarceration is a serious spiritual and moral issue for our nation. Communities and nations cannot systematically and unreflectively cage and marginalize massive numbers of human beings without first diminishing the recognition of their…Read More
Thank you for joining last Thursday evening’s Decarceration Virtual Town Hall. Included with this email is a recording of the town hall, as well as some of the resources (see sidebar) shared by breakout leaders. Now, more than ever, it is critical that we act together to make decarceration a reality for the folks who are sitting…
Gamaliel Decarceration Virtual Rally Yesterday’s Decarceration Virtual Rally was a huge success thanks to an all-star line-up of speakers. Rev. Dr. John Welch, chair of the Gamaliel Board of Directors, and Rev. Marian Boyle-Rohloff, chair of the Gamaliel Religious Leaders’ Caucus, co-moderated the event which included moving testimonies from Gamaliel leaders impacted by the criminal justice system;…
Calendar of Events
Youth Justice Action
Friday May 8, 2020
Affiliate Criminal Justice Issue Campaigns
Nearly all of the 44 Gamaliel affiliates in 15 states are engaged in some kind of criminal justice campaign work. Those affiliate campaigns (listed below) can be understood as issues that fall at different points on a continuum of priorities: Prevention; First Contact with Policing; Courts; Prison; Post-incarceration.
“To love God, we must love humanity.
To love humanity, we have to address the conditions in which we live.
The dignity of human beings matters.
Structures and institutions matter.”
—Omid Safi, Director, Duke University Islamic Studies Center