Nearly 100 Christian leaders joined together to sign a declaration calling for criminal justice reform.
The Justice Declaration calls for equitable justice, alternatives to incarceration, and a different take on the “tough on crime” approach that is being championed by the Trump administration, according to the Religion News Service.
During a press conference at the National Press Club Tuesday, Prison Fellowship CEO James Ackerman said, “Our country’s overreliance on incarceration fails to make us safer or to restore people and communities who have been harmed.”
Ackerman later added: “We as a church are not recognizing that disproportional punishment — that is, giving someone more than they deserve — is not consistent with our values and certainly will not help us advance the hope of a restorative justice system we all seek.”
The Justice Declaration reads:
The Church has both the unique ability and unparalleled capacity to confront the staggering crisis of crime and incarceration in America and to respond with restorative solutions for communities, victims, and individuals responsible for crime.
The leaders who signed the declaration also presented it to Republican leaders in hopes of pushing for a different approach than has been pushed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who said earlier this year that they “should charge and pursue the most serious readily provable offense.”
At the press conference, National Association of Evangelicals President Leith Anderson pushed churches to do more than just sign the declaration.
“What if all of our churches were to adopt one incarcerated person?” he asked. “What if all of our churches would service one family where a family member is incarcerated? What if all of our churches would care for one victim?”
Notable individuals who have already signed the declaration include Founder and President of Ravi Zacharias Ministries, Ravi Zacharias, Founder and CEO of Joni and Friends International Disability Center, Joni Eareckson Tada, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Russell Moore and President of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, John Stonestreet.
Click here to read the full list of leaders who have signed the declaration.