Catching Stones | March 23, 2018
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Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.

——Proverbs 3:27, NIV


“Prosecutors are the most powerful actors in the criminal justice system”

In this TED talk, Adam Foss, a prosecutor with the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office in Boston, examines the role and power of prosecutors in determining the future of millions of people, arguing for criminal justice reform as a matter of public safety and an issue of justice. Foss asks people to “demand better” and to support prosecutors who are “helping people stay out of jail, not putting them in.” Watch Foss share his vision for the system.


“Caught: The Lives of Juvenile Justice”

NPR recently released a new podcast series entitled “Caught: The Lives of Juvenile Justice.” Each year, approximately one million children are swept up in the criminal justice system. The nine-episode series will feature stories from some of the juveniles themselves, detailing their first encounters with law and order and the subsequent change in their lives’ trajectories. Listen to their stories.


“It’s learning how to be in relationship with somebody”

In Waterloo region, some Catholic schools are turning to restorative justice to handle disciplinary issues, viewing the process as a way to get to the root of a conflict and prevent situations from escalating. The success of this approach at participating schools like St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School has piqued the interest of other Catholic elementary and secondary schools in the region. Read more about this culture shift happening now.

Bonus: Read a CRC member’s testimony of the transformational power of restorative practices at his local Christian school.


“There’s no humanity in there”

Decades ago, the U.S. Congress approved “compassionate release” for inmates who were terminally ill, elderly, or facing “extraordinary and compelling circumstances.” However, data show that this process is rarely used: the federal Bureau of Prisons approved just six percent of the 5,400 applications it received from 2013 to 2017. Read more about the compassionate release process and the obstacles families face in their attempts to bring their loved ones home.


“But you can’t let somebody die, just sitting there without trying”

In this article, Connie Farris, a federal inmate serving time for mail fraud, shares the reason behind her applications for compassionate release and the helplessness she feels watching her husband’s health deteriorate from afar. The Bureau of Prisons denied her most recent application in July 2017 on the grounds that it would “minimize the severity” of her offense. Read Farris’ story.


Support Compassionate Release Reform

The Granting Release and Compassion Effectively (GRACE) Act is a new bipartisan bill in the U.S. Senate that addresses the broken compassionate release process in the criminal justice system. The GRACE Act would bring much-needed reform to a system under which more than 80 incarcerated people have died in the last four years while waiting for their requests to be reviewed. Ask your senators to support the GRACE Act.


Learning How to Grow Restorative Churches

Join Learning How to Grow Restorative Churches, a three-day FaithCARE training in Ajax, Ont., on Apr. 27 and 28 and May 12. Over the course of the three days, participants will explore what a restorative church looks like, delve into restorative circles, and practice facilitating formal restorative conferences. Learn more about this opportunity and register.


Commemorate Youth Justice Sunday in Michigan

On Sunday, Apr. 22, join Michigan congregations and faith leaders in commemorating the first Youth Justice Sunday. Michigan is one of only five states that prosecute 17-year-olds as adults; the Raise the Age campaign seeks to improve the way Michigan treats youth in the criminal justice system. Download fact sheets and toolkits, and sign up to participate.