Prison Ministry: Advocacy

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Prison – Abolish Death Penalty Flyer

Death Penalty Opposition – Episcopal Church

Since 1958, the Episcopal Church USA has made their opposition to capital punishment known through resolutions passed at General Conventions and actions taken within Dioceses. Provinces, dioceses, parishes, missions, and individuals are urged to work actively to abolish capital punishment in their respective states and many have answered that call (“Episcopal leaders push to abolish death penalty across the country” – June 2012). 

In addition, subsequent resolutions (1991-D056, 2000-A082, 2000-A083) have urged parishes and dioceses to study the death penalty and explore the reasons for our opposition. Study programs are available on this website under “Resources>Study Guides”. Fact sheets and more regarding capital punishment nationwide are available on the Death Penalty Information Center website. The Death Penalty Action organization website also offers a special project called “For Whom the Bells Toll” for engaging faith communities.

In 2005, the 78th General Convention passed Resolution D025 encouraging Bishops in all states to appoint task forces of clergy and lay persons to develop a witness to eliminate the death penalty. And in 2015, the Diocese of Arizona passed Resolution 2015-4 affirming our opposition to capital punishment and urging Diocesan staff, convention attendees, clergy, and individual Arizona Episcopalians to bear witness, to demonstrate and to speak out in private and in public against Arizona’s continued use of capital punishment. 

In 2022, executions resumed in Arizona using the controversial lethal injection drugs that resulted in several “botched” executions in the past. The Diocesan Prison Ministry team is asking for your help to form a task force to actively work toward eliminating the death penalty in our state. Please contact Deacon Kim Crecca for more information.

Arizona Faith Network – Criminal Justice Reform

Arizona Faith Network (AFN) is an interfaith organization dedicated to bringing people together to promote peace and understanding through interfaith education and dialogue as well as healing of the world through collaborative social action. In 2019, AFN adopted Criminal Legal Reform as a mission focus.

Meets on the 3rd Friday of each month from noon to 1:30. Must RSVP to receive Zoom link: Arizona Faith Network – Criminal Justice Reform.

Death Penalty Alternatives for AZ

Death Penalty Alternatives for AZ is a statewide, grassroots organization that’s dedicated to eliminating the death penalty in Arizona by promoting awareness of the problems with capital punishment. Please click here to view “An Eye for an Eye” video on YouTube. To sign up for Death Penalty Alternatives for Arizona news and events email info@azdeathpenalty.org

For more information/statistics about the death penalty, upcoming executions and what you can do, please visit the Death Penalty Information Center website. To sign petitions protesting upcoming executions, please visit the Death Penalty Action website.

Arizona Justice Project

Arizona Justice Project is an organization that seeks justice for the innocent and the wrongfully imprisoned. This non-profit organization provides pro bono representation to indigent-Arizona defendants who have been wrongfully convicted or who are wrongfully incarcerated. The Justice Project works with volunteers from Arizona’s three law schools, including a clinical program at both Arizona State University and the University of Arizona. They also continue to partner with law firms and volunteer lawyers throughout the State of AZ. For volunteer opportunities or externships, please contact info@azjusticeproject.org.

David’s Hope

David’s Hope works to divert those with mental illness or co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders away from the criminal justice system and into comprehensive community-based treatment and support services. For persons with mental health issues who are already incarcerated, David’s Hope advocates for effective and humane treatment.

David’s Hope seeks to enlist people from all faiths and religious backgrounds to become a link in the lifeline which will bring healing and restoration to the most broken. If you or your church would be interested in volunteering, send an email to davidshopeaz@yahoo.com. David’s Hope is an all-volunteer-run organization and depends entirely upon freewill donations to continue their efforts. Click here to make a donation online or call 602-774-4382 for more information.

Just Communities Arizona

Just Communities Arizona is creating new models for justice and safety, outside of Arizona’s punishment system. JCA is committed to achieving a system that provides peace, community, and safety for everyone by working alongside people with convictions, formerly incarcerated people, and shared communities to reframe justice through a lens of healing, not retribution.

Contact hello@justcomaz.org or call 520-623-9141 for more information about how your community can become involved in building and promoting programs and services outside the criminal justice system that creates community, restore wholeness, treat trauma, and foster wellbeing for every person.

Episcopal Church USA

Resolution A011-2015 of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church laid out a comprehensive agenda for prison reform.

The resolution supports the following:

a.  Advocating for alternatives to incarceration for those who are addicted, and increased funding for treatment programs;

b.  Advocating for alternatives to incarceration for those who are mentally ill, and increased funding for treatment programs;

c.  Advocating for protection of the civil rights and provision of appropriate support and accommodation for people with disabilities who are arrested and incarcerated;

d.  Advocating for funding for job training and apprentice programs for those who are at risk of incarceration and those who are formerly released from prison;

e.  Working with local businesses to create pathways to living wage jobs for formerly incarcerated people;

f.  Establishing mentoring and accompaniment programs for those leaving prison;

g.  Advocating for the repeal of mandatory-minimum sentences for nonviolent offenses;

h.  Calling for the abolition of the sentencing disparity between crack-cocaine and powder-cocaine offenses and, as an intermediate step, urging the U.S. Congress, in accordance with the recommendation of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, to make retroactive the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act, which reduces the disparity in sentencing from previous levels;

i.  Advocating to eliminate “three strikes” sentencing protocols;

j.  Joining local “Ban the Box” campaigns to remove questions about arrest records in on-line and written job application forms;

k.  Opposing the creation of “for profit” prisons and immigration detention centers, and, where they exist, organizing against guaranteed nightly numbers of prisoners and detainees, and advocate for access to education and rehabilitation programs for those being incarcerated or detained;

l.  Reforming monetary bail bond systems, which rely upon often-unlicensed and unregulated bail bond agents and on conditioning release from pre-trial incarceration solely on the ability to pay;

m.  Advocating for immediate return of the right to vote for those who have served their sentences and left prison; and

n.  Calling for the exploration and creation of restorative justice programs to transform juvenile justice systems.