Quakers believe that justice should be compassionate, forgiving and healing – restorative, not retributive. We want to change attitudes and encourage the criminal justice system to move towards this vision of justice.
We strongly advocate restorative justice because it seeks to balance the needs of the victim and the community with the reintegration of the offender into society.
Addressing government policy
Victims and offenders are often poorly served by the current criminal justice system. The effects can also be devastating for their family and friends, and even the professionals involved.
We have a long-standing stance against the use of imprisonment as the default response to wrong-doing. It is a false assumption that repetition of the offence is prevented by imprisonment. We are for the use of prison only when there is no reasonable alternative.
We use opportunities presented by the parliamentary system to challenge legislation that puts greater emphasis on punishment than on rehabilitation.
Taking action for justice
We produce briefings to inform Quakers about various aspects of the criminal justice system. These also contain suggestions for taking action, from helping individuals caught up in the system to addressing policy makers. We particularly encourage you to provide practical support to the families and friends of people in prison.
Despite the widespread use of prison sentences in Britain, it is not always clear why people are sent there. We have produced a framework for discussion to explore the purposes, effectiveness and experience of imprisonment as a response to criminal actions. We encourage you to use this framework as a starting point for discussion in your Quaker meeting.
Members of the Crime, Community and Justice Sub-committee are available to come and facilitate a “Why Prison?" workshop for your meeting. To request a workshop, contact Paula Harvey: firstname.lastname@example.org.