Despite its name, we do not believe that our criminal justice system is just. In the past 20 years, all forms of crime have declined, yet we continue to incarcerate more people for longer periods of time. Evidence shows that our prison system is both profit motivated and powered by the racial oppression that underlies many of the systems that remain fundamental to our society. We believe in the need for a justice system that is truly fair and just.
Our vision is of a criminal justice system that treats incarceration as a last resort. We envision a system that emphasizes rehabilitation, drug treatment, mental health care and community-based services to prevent incarceration, and support people upon their release. We envision a system that holds violent offenders accountable while upholding their human rights. We envision a community-centered system that uses comprehensive approaches to public safety. We envision a system that acknowledges the suffering caused by institutional oppression and that above all, works to eliminate the injustices that lead to many people becoming entrapped in our criminal justice system, and being condemned to cycles of despair and hopelessness.
Jewish Community Action is currently working on two campaigns related to criminal justice reform and the impact of mass incarceration: One addressing the for-profit private prison system and seeking to push back on the building and opening of private prisons in Minnesota, and one demanding the restoration of voting rights to to felons who have completed incarceration and are living and working in their communities.