Upcoming Criminal Justice Reform Events to Raise Awareness of Inequities in U.S. Penal System

February 03, 2011

  • National Day of Prayer for Criminal Justice Reform is Feb. 20
  • Juvenile Justice Week of Faith & Healing, March 7-13, raises awareness of inequities arising from current penal system
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) asks you to take several actions to improve the criminal justice system in the United States. The National Day of Prayer for Criminal Justice Reform is Sunday, Feb. 20, the Juvenile Justice Week of Faith & Healing is March 7-13, and your endorsement is sought for a Criminal Justice Reform Faith Letter to Congress.
 
The National Day of Prayer for Criminal Justice Reform can be observed at any time on the weekend of Feb. 19-20.
 
The weekend presents faith communities with the opportunity to educate themselves about the realities of mass incarceration in the United States. The observance also provides an opportunity to invite God's liberating Spirit to give us enough resilience, courage and love to look honestly at how cycles of violence and trauma persist through retributive structures of mass incarceration. Finally, the National Day of Prayer for Criminal Justice Reform gives us the opportunity explore how we can collectively take steps to break free from these cycles and chose new paths of freedom together.
 
Join people of faith from around the country by inviting your congregation to take part or all of their prayer time on Feb. 20 to lift up prayers for the healing of our communities and to put an end to mass incarceration in the United States.
 
Resources for reflection, a sample Annual Conference resolution calling for an end to mass incarceration, and registration information are available at National Day of Prayer for Criminal Justice Reform (www.umc-gbcs.org/DayofPrayerFeb20). 
 
As the 112th Congress begins, the faith community has offered a vision of what kind of criminal justice system ought to be in place in the United States. You are encouraged to invite your congregation to sign, to endorse the vision at Criminal Justice Reform Faith Letter (www.umc-gbcs.org/CriminalJusticeReformLetter).
 
March 7-13 is Juvenile Justice Week of Faith & Healing. This annual event unites congregations of all faith traditions, as well as high schools and universities, to raise awareness of individual, community, and societal inequities arising from the current system. For prayers, resources for getting involved, and to register your participation visit Juvenile Justice Week of Faith & Healing.
 
For more information about these activities, contact Bill Mefford, GBCS director of Civil & Human Rights, at bmefford@umc-gbcs.org, or Laura Markle Downton, GBCS criminal justice reform grassroots coordinator, at ldownton@umc-gbcs.org.
 
The General Board of Church & Society is one of four international general program boards of The United Methodist Church. The board's primary areas of ministry are Advocacy, Education & Leadership Formation, United Nations & International Affairs, and resourcing these areas for the denomination. It has offices on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and at the Church Center at the United Nations.