Relevant Religion Series
Relevant Religion Series with
Executive Director, Cal Turner Program in Moral Leadership for the Professions
Assistant Professor, Vanderbilt University Divinity School
There are currently over 2.3 million people incarcerated in the United States. Another 5 million are under other forms of State supervision (probation, parole, etc). 1/3 African American men will find themselves incarcerated in their lifetimes. 1/6 Hispanic men will as well. Women incarceration rates have soared over the past 30 years, with over 200,000 women behind bars today. Like the men, these women are mostly black and Latino, overwhelmingly poor and low-income. Nearly 80 percent of them are mothers, and many are primary caretakers of their children. Many are victims of sexual or domestic violence or suffer from mental illness. The consequences of this reality upon families and communities are severe. Crime and violence are inevitable elements of any society. How we deal with these human realities is up to us. And by almost any account our current justice system has failed both those who commit crimes and those who are its victims. Leaders need to think creatively about new possibilities.
One alternative is the restorative justice approach. Rather than seek retribution, restorative justice seeks reconciliation and restoration of both offenders and the offended. In this workshop we will discuss the history and practice of restorative justice, paying particular attention to its religious and cultural roots. We will listen to the voices of those who have been in the justice system, as well as those who have experienced the restorative justice model, and we will discuss the potential of Restorative Justice to foster a deeper form of justice, and a more hopeful future. Come join us in this conversation about Criminal Justice in the United States, and Restorative Justice as a path forward.