Early Quakers were leaders in the prison reform movements in England and later in colonies such as Pennsylvania. AFSC has carried the concern for prisoners, as well as victims for many years, believing that even if a person is convicted of a crime, incarceration should not take away their inherent dignity or humanity.
Prisoners are entitled to proper medical care, appropriate mental health services, and interaction with others. AFSC opposes maximum security prisons and their lockdown procedures as dehumanizing and violating the Divine Spark within those incarcerated. And we work for the abolition of the death penalty.
AFSC calls this healing justice. This programs acknowledge that the majority of prisoners will return to the outside world and that communities have a responsibility to aid them as they rejoin society. We have worked with released prisoners on reentry into their communities and have encouraged their families to speak out if they know about abuses or poor treatment in prisons.