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Questions to consider when taking action on Justice Issues

Questions to consider when taking action on Justice Issues

Here are 15 questions to consider when taking on addressing prisons or justice issues. This a list condensed from guidelines offered in Laura Magnani and Harmon Wray's book Beyond Prisons: A new interfaith paradigm for our failed prison system.

  1. Do No Harm – For example don’t support longer sentences so people can receive “rehabilitation.” Don’t support restitution proposals that are added onto incarceration.
  2. Does the proposal move in the direction of dismantling the system, or does it prop it up?
  3. Does the proposal end up increasing the budgets of corrections departments and law enforcement?
  4. Is the power to distribute money to community groups in the hands of the community?
  5. What does accountability look like?
  6. How transparent is the mechanism proposed?
  7. If communities are held to a standard of “evidence based practices” are the same standards applied to in-custody programs?
  8. If the proposal is for an independent review body, will that body be fully funded, have subpoena power, and the power to implement recommendations or at least make their recommendations public?
  9. Does the proposal increase the dignity and autonomy of persons so that they can move toward wholeness?
  10. Does the proposal provide safe space for survivors to be heard and to move toward healing?
  11. How will the power shift in the new proposal?
  12. Will the incremental change erode the possibility of fundamental change?
  13. As you go through the change process,  is the system (those in power now) offering you pieces of what you want in order to buy our silence?
  14. How are you using the privilege you have and do you continue to examine those choices, expecting to "come to privilege questions every day" as you grow and evolve?
  15. Are the people most directly affected by the carceral/control state leading the efforts and organizations to which you belong?
Created Date: 
Jun 12, 2015