Lawrence Religious Leaders Seek Alternative To Jail For People With Mental Illness

October 28, 2016.

As communities across Kansas struggle to accommodate an influx of people with mental illness in their criminal justice systems, religious leaders are calling for a new approach in Lawrence.

A group called Justice Matters, which represents 23 congregations, released a report this week called “Restorative Justice at Home.” The report contains several recommendations to beef up Douglas County’s mental health treatment options as an alternative to a proposed expansion of the county jail.

Statewide push on for juvenile citations rather than arrests in minor offenses

October 26, 2016.

About midway through the 28th annual conference of the Hillsborough Organization for Progress and Equality, Father John Tapp took the pulpit.

For the 600 or so churchgoers gathered in the sanctuary at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Temple Terrace, it was time for confession.

“Let’s think back to our own childhood and teenage years. If I name something you did while under 18, please stand and remain standing,” Tapp said to the laughing but obedient crowd.

Coalition of churches call for expansion of state’s juvenile citation program

October 25, 2016. The Tampa Bay Times.

When she was caught stealing an $8 necklace as a 12-year-old, Samantha Hernandez said she was tackled to the ground and arrested, yet told the crime would be cleared from her record by the time she was 18.

That wasn’t the case.

“I’m now 25, and that arrest from 13 years ago still comes up when I apply for jobs, college and housing,” Hernandez said.

Pinellas School Board candidates invited to pledge support at FAST assembly tonight

October 24, 2016. The Tampa Bay Times.

All four Pinellas County School Board candidates have been invited to stand with a faith-based group pushing a bill to curb arrests among children.

Faith and Action for Strength Together, or FAST, has invited the candidates to a St. Petersburg assembly — one of 10 held around the state — to pledge to eliminate out-of-school suspensions, reduce unnecessary arrests and support effective reading curriculum in high-poverty schools.

Justice ministry renews call for outside audit of Charleston, North Charleston police

October 22, 2016. The Post and Courier.

An interfaith advocacy group is calling for a deeper, outside examination of Charleston police policies on pedestrian stops beyond Chief Greg Mullen’s planned review aimed at weeding out innocent people from a massive database culled from these encounters.

Members of the Charleston Area Justice Ministry said Mullen’s approach won’t get at the underlying problems with these stops or the racial disparities highlighted in The Post and Courier’s recent series, “Watched.” Erasing names from the database eliminates documentation of questionable stops without exploring the potential lessons they contain, said the Rev. Charles Heyward, co-president of the justice ministry.