1999-03 – Calls for a Moratorium on Construction of Prisons and All Places of Incarceration and Detention

The Convocation of Jail and Prison Ministry opposes the continued increase in the building of jails, prisons, and juvenile places of detention. Over two million people are currently incarcerated in the United States. The per capita rate of incarceration is over five times the average rate found in other industrialized nations. More than half of those incarcerated are serving sentences for non-violent offenses and would benefit more from sentencing to community based and other rehabilitation programs.

The high cost in incarceration of so many is currently crippling funding for educational services for all the country’s youth, as well as funding for prevention and intervention programs for high risk populations.

Therefore, the National Convocation of Jail and Prison Ministry is calling for an immediate moratorium on building additional jails, prisons, and juvenile places of detention on all levels; local, state, and federal.

Simultaneously we call for the establishment of and funding for community based programs for non-violent offenders. It is a means of bringing about restorative rather than retributive justice. This step alone will alleviate the need for additional space and effectively assist offenders in making changes necessary for leading productive lives. In addition, funds will be available to improve educational systems at all levels, to fund programs to assist high-risk youth, and programs needed to provide a safe environment for all children.

Members of the National Convocation of Jail and Prison Ministry are urged to contact their local and state legislators and members of the United States Congress to urge the implementation of this moratorium.