From the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (http://www.umc-gbcs.org):
Encourage your church to participate in the National Day of Prayer for Criminal Justice Reform and contact Laura Markle Downton (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
Join with people of faith from around the country and invite your faith community to take part or all of their prayer time the weekend of Sunday, February 20th to lift up prayers for the healing of our communities and an end to mass incarceration in the US. Together, we will lift up the need for a fair criminal justice system based on restorative principles that do not sentence people to unjustly long sentences or target certain racial-ethnic groups, so that the families of the incarcerated can be strengthened and local communities safely restored.
Send a photo of your faith community in prayer for criminal justice reform to email@example.com. We will be compiling photos from around the country.
The weekend of Sunday, February 20th, we will pray for:
Empowerment of faith communities to unite our voices in the call for an end to mass incarceration in the US, the creative vision to build communities of opportunity for all children, the courage to resist despair and complacency so that we may confront head-on the injustices of our current criminal justice system, and love that is strong enough to restore and heal our communities.
Moral leadership and accountability of elected leaders to support legislation that reflects the values of restorative justice and will care for victims of crime, eliminate unjust and unsafe treatment in the criminal justice system, and access to flourishing for all of our sisters and brothers.
Facts to consider and share with your faith community:
While the U.S. makes up only 5% of the world’s population, it confines 25% of the world’s incarcerated, with a total of 2.3 million incarcerated in the US today. This accounts for a 600% increase in the past forty years.
The US prison industry is one of the fastest growing industries, spending over $60 billion on corrections.
Two-thirds of those incarcerated are African-American or Latino/a, and if current trends continue, one in three African American males and one in six Latino males born today will serve time in prison in the US.
Most incarcerated women, including mothers behind bars, were first survivors of violence.
Today, women in US prisons are disproportionately African-American or Latina and, at the time of arrest, earning annual incomes of less than $15,000.
Each day in the US, over 90,000 juveniles are held in confinement and 7,500 youth are held in adult jails awaiting trial in criminal court. At the same time, 2,000 children are serving sentences of juvenile life without parole (JLWOP).
These are just some of the reasons why we know the current system is broken.
Therefore, we must pray for an end to mass incarceration in the US, for empowerment of faith communities to advocate for transformation, and for moral and accountable leadership by our elected leaders to bring about access to flourishing for all of our sisters and brothers. Please sign up today!
View our map of prayer activities at http://www.umc-gbcs.org/site/c.frLJK2PKLqF/b.5372167/k.A7E7/Day_of_Prayer_Map.htm?segment=319547.