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Peace and Justice Committee of Eastern District Conference and Franconia Mennonite Conference

Prisons, Criminal Justice, and Restorative Justice

This is a brief resource list on U.S. prisons, criminal justice, and restorative justice issues and public policy.


Faith-Based Resources

on Criminal Justice and Restorative Justice

  • American Friends Service Committee
    1501 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102
    Phone: (215) 241-7000
    Web: www.afsc.org
    — then, search for criminal justice issues.
    The AFSC “Stopmax” campaign seeks to end solitary confinement in U.S. prisons.
  • Lutheran Church (ELCA)
    A Social Statement on The Church and Criminal Justice: Hearing the Cries
    (PDF, 64 pages, 2013)
  • Mennonite Central Committee U.S. – Office on Justice and Peacebuilding
    21 South 12th Street, P0 Box 500, Akron, PA 17501
    Phone: (717) 859-1152
    Email: lsa@mcc.org
    Web: http://mcc.org/us/peacebuilding/
    includes educational resources on Crime and Justice and Mennonite Mediation Service.
  • Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office
    920 Pennsylvania Ave, SE
    Washington, DC 20003
    Phone: (202) 544-6564
    E-mail: mccwash@mcc.org
    Web: www.mcc.org/us/washington
    Monitors U.S. public policy for its impact on MCCís domestic and international relief, development and peacemaking work.
    Resources on Criminal Justice, Prisons, Restorative Justice and Public Policy
      www.mcc.org/us/washington/issues/criminaljustice/

  • United Methodist General Board of Church and Society
    The Washington Office (addresses public policy issues on criminal justice)
    100 Maryland Ave N.E.
    Washington, DC 20002
    Phone: 202-488-5600
    Email: bmefford@umc-gbcs.org (Bill Mefford)
    Web: www.umc-gbcs.org — then, search for criminal and restorative justice.

Prisons, Jails, and the Criminal Justice System

  • Amnesty International:
    www.amnesty.org
    Promotes human rights and campaigns against specific human rights abuses. In 2005, Amensty International(AI) reported that there were 2,225 child offenders serving life without parole (LWOP) sentences in U.S prisons for crimes committed before they were age 18.
    Search Amnesty website for other information on U.S. prisons and torture in U.S. military prisons.
  • American Bar Association
    www.abanet.org
    ABA Justice Kennedy Commission report (2004).
    Kennedy Commission Fact Sheet
    The report identifes a number of factors that have contributed to a steady increase in incarceration rates without any significant improvement crime rates or public safety. The report includes recommendations on punishment, incarceration, sentencing, clemency, and restoration of rights, as well as racial disparity in the criminal justice system and prison conditions.
  • Google: Crime Rates
    U.S. Crime Rates (1960-2006)
  • Journey for Justice
    www.journeyforjustice.org
    Prison Fact sheet (pdf).
  • Human Rights Watch
    www.hrw.org
    Drug Arrests and Racial Disparity
    Table1718.pdf on drug use and arrests.
  • Mother Jones
    www.motherjones.com
    “Debt to Society”:
    A special report (July 10, 2001) on the real cost of prisons.
    This resource includes commentary on a number of prison issues, including state by state charts and statistics. (However, it has not been updated since 2001.)
  • National Institute of Corrections
    www.nicic.org
    Pennsylvania statistics
    The National Institute of Corrections (NIC) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons, whose Director is appointed by the U.S. Attorney General. NIC provides training, technical assistance, information services, and policy/program development assistance to federal, state, and local corrections agencies.
  • November Coalition
    november.org
    graphs of prison statistics.
    The November Coalition provides educational resources about drug-related incarceration that began with President Nixon’s “War on Drugs”. The November Coalition seeks to show that current policies of the U.S. drug war are unnecessary and counter-productive. They also advocate for “drug war prisoners”.
  • New York Times
    Racial disparity in drug arrest rates.
  • The Pew Center on the States
    www.pewpublicsafety.org
    The Public Safety Performance Project includes prison/criminal justice data for Pennsylvania.
    Recommends changes in corrections programs and sentencing laws to avoid further prison expansion.
  • Philadelphia Enquirer: Apr. 21, 2008
    Prison bills aim to ease Pa’s burden
  • Prison Society
    www.prisonsociety.org
    prison editorial
    U.S. 1/143 in prison; England, France, Germany and Italy: about 1/1000
  • Prisoners of the Census
    www.prisonersofthecensus.org
  • U.S. Census Bureau statistics
    www.census.gov
    Crime Rates in the U.S.
  • infoplease
    www.infoplease.com
    Provides on-line statistics for state and federal prison inmates by type of offense (among many other topics).
  • Prison Policy Initiative
    www.prisonpolicy.org
    graphs comparing Pennsylvania’s mental hospital population with prison statistics.
    PPI web page includes research reports and statistics on a number of prison-related issues, including juvenile justice abuses, the adverse consequences of current U.S. Census policies,
    PPI’s on-line book The Prison Index:
    Taking the Pulse of the Crime Control Industry
    (2003), also www.prisonersofthecensus.org
    Pa. mental hospitals vs. prisons (1981-2003)
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the
    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    www.oas.samhsa.gov/nhsda.htm
    Provides information and statistics on U.S. illicit drug use, drug abuse prevention, and drug abuse treatment.
  • World Prison rates (map) wikipedia
    world map of incarceration rates. [Gray areas on the map mean no data available].

Juvenile Justice


Capital Punishment (Death Penalty)

  • Death Penalty Curriculum
    deathpenaltycurriculum.org
    Resource for high school education, including extensive information and statistics on capital punishment.
    Curriculum and website were developed at Michigan State University with support of the Death Penalty Information Center.
  • Death Penalty Information Center
    www.deathpenaltyinfo.org
  • Amnesty International
    www.amnestyusa.org
    Resources on death penalty issues and abolition.
  • Sr. Helen Prejean
    ww.prejean.org
    Sr. Prejean, author of “Dead Man Walking” and other publications on the death penalty, is an articulate opponent of capital punishment.

Pennsylvania Death Row

  • Pennsylvania Department of Corrections: Death Penalty
    www.cor.state.pa.us/deathpenalty
    Pennsylvania death penalty statistics, death row inmates, death warrants, and executions.
    Since 1962 there have been three executions in Pennsylvania: Keith Zettlemoyer and Leon Moser in 1995, and Gary Heidnik in 1999. There are 200 death row inmates inmates in Pennsylvania as of November 2012. Also, six men have been exonerated from death row.
  • Terrance Williams was scheduled for execution on Oct. 3, 2012, but a Philadelphia judge issued a stay of execution, and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court agreed to review the case.
    See www.terrywilliamsclemency.com for more about the Williams case.

Government Agencies


Returning Residents — People Released from Prison


Other Resources

  • Wikipedia — the online encyclopedia
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
  • Immigration Resources: efpjc.ppjr.org/immigra.htm
    Links to extensive resources (Pennsylvania and U.S.)
    Note: Relatively few immigrants are in U.S. prisons (immigrant crime rates are well below the U.S. average), but about 30,000 immigrants are held in detention centers on any given day — men, women, and children.

Last updated May 31st, 2014.