Arizona Request to Speak
Are you aware that as Arizonans we have the opportunity to make known our position on the various bills that are being considered by our State legislature by simply going online using the Request to Speak (RTS) system? Legislators have indicated that they read and remember RTS comments and registering your Bill Position can help a bill get on a committee docket.
If you have an RTS account but are unsure how to use it OR if you are not currently registered with RTS, you can do so by following the instructions below. The name is misleading – you do NOT need to speak. The system allows you to electronically weigh in on a bill, for or against, without having to go to the capitol or speak in person/online.
Learn more about the Request to Speak system by downloading or clicking through ”Using the Request to Speak” manual provided by the Arizona Legislature government office.
IF YOU DO NOT HAVE AN RTS ACCOUNT. If you would like to register your position on upcoming bills, the government affairs team at Goodman Schwartz Public Affairs will create an account for you and activate that account at the state capitol building so you can begin submitting your preferences. By going through Goodman Schwartz, you will NOT need to appear in person at the state capitol to activate your account. If you would like Goodman Schwartz to create an account for you, please fill out the survey created by Arizona Faith Network linked HERE to give them permission to create your account. The team will activate the account and then send you the credentials for you to log in and change your password so you can sign in on any upcoming bill. (This is how several of us on the Diocesan Prison Ministry team were able to establish our RTS accounts.)
If you have any questions, please reach out to Emily Raymond with the Goodman Schwartz Public Affairs team at email@example.com.
IF YOU HAVE AN RTS ACCOUNT. Please consider letting your position be known on upcoming bills by signing in to the RTS system and following the instructions below. SB1713 is being used as an example. If you would like to know which bills are being considered and suggestions about supporting/opposing those bills, sign up to receive Action Alerts from the former Attorney and Director of Arizona Justice Alliance by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Death Penalty Discussion
For Prison Awareness Month in September, 2022, the Sacred Journey justice group at the Episcopal Church of St. Matthew in Tucson hosted a discussion about the death penalty in Arizona. Our discussion featured a special guest speaker, Kat Jutras, who is the State Advocacy Director for Death Penalty Alternatives for Arizona. Simply click on the graphic below to watch the recorded discussion. If you would like to invite Ms. Jutras to speak to your congregation, contact Rev. Kim Crecca
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 website has a lot of information about upcoming executions and also offers a special project called “For Whom the Bells Toll” for engaging faith communities and ordering posters, banners, buttons, stickers and other campaign items to oppose the death penalty. You can download the “Liturgy on the Day of Execution” based on a liturgy developed by St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church located in Huntsville, TX (all executions in the State of Texas occur at the Walls Unit in Huntsville). Also available for download is a “Prayer for Those to be Executed” based on a prayer offered by Bishop Jennifer Reddall, Diocese of AZ, just prior to the execution of Clarence Dixon on May 11, 2022. Mr. Dixon was the first person to be executed in Arizona after an 8-year hiatus on executions.
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.
Articles & Videos on Death Penalty Opposition
- “Each Man’s Death Diminishes Me” – Arizona Episcopalian
- “Legalized Lynchings: Kevin Johnson, Davel Chinn & The Uneven Toll of Death Row on Black People.” – The North Star
- “Behind the Black Curtain: Republic Reporter describes ‘surreal’ Frank Atwood Execution” – Arizona Central
- “People vs. the Death Penalty” Film Series – Death Penalty Action ( Click HERE to download their flyer)
Execution Prayer Ministry
The Execution Prayer Ministry, offered as a Diocesan Prison Ministry, seeks to raise awareness about the impacts of capital punishment on our communities, families, those tasked with carrying out executions, and those on death row. Members from each church in our Diocese are encouraged to gather together regularly and intentionally to pray for an end to the death penalty in our State and in our nation.
Vigils and prayer services can be held on the eve of executions. A liturgical service is available to download by clicking HERE. The names of those about to be executed can be included in church prayer lists and prayer chains along their families and the families of those who were victims. Names (and dates) of those scheduled for execution can be found on the Death Penalty Action website under Execution Petitions.
The following statement was received from a person who attended the vigil held for Arthur Brown, Jr. who was executed on March 9, 2023. “I knew I stood for the sacredness of life and that I stood for humane treatment of imprisoned people, but this vigil deepened my awareness of the hideous wrongness of the death penalty. I appreciated the prayers, songs, bell, and comments. I valued the waiting and watching and witnessing.” The Execution Prayer Ministry provides an opportunity for us to pray with and for all of those who are impacted by executions. Please download the Execution Prayer Ministry flyer and share it with members of your congregation, friends, and family. Bookmarks featuring a prayer from Sister Helen Prejean (author of “Dead Man Walking”) can also be downloaded and shared.
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 email@example.com.
To read articles about upcoming and past executions in Arizona, click HERE. 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.
Perryville Prison Blog
This blog is written by a current inmate in Perryville Women’s Prison located in Goodyear, AZ, and updated by a close personal friend. She provides insights about what really goes on behind the metal bars to a public that is kept woefully in the dark. Here is her statement about why she continues to write these blogs at great risk of personal retaliation, “I’m sure there are some out there who think inmates should be punished every day for their crimes. Are you the sum total of your worst moment? Should they pay with their lives? I saw a chart in the paper that shows women in Perryville have a mental illness rate of 82%. I’ve talked to these women for a decade now, and almost all have been subjected to severe mental and physical abuse. The majority of ladies have committed non-violent crimes. Arizona sentences a lot of them to “flat-time,” which means no time off for good behavior – period! Arizona is one of the worst in the nation for recidivism. Arizona is a prison state that makes its money off taxpayers, inmates, and their families. Hopefully, this website will convince you to support prison reform.” Click HERE to read more.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.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.