Addressing government policy
Our unequal and unjust society creates the conditions for crime to thrive. People harmed by crime are often poorly served by the UK dependency on policing, prosecution, and punishment. Those who have done harm suffer in this system, and it does not serve the families and friends of those caught up in it either.
Many Quakers see the criminal justice system as harmful because it increases rather than decreases inequality and injustice. Quakers have a long-standing stance against the use of imprisonment as the default response to wrong-doing. It rarely prevents the repetition of an offence, and many people in prison are not a threat to the public.
The high costs of our prisons, courts and police reduces the resources available to support individuals, communities and society to make the choices and changes that are necessary for a peaceable world.
Quakers in Britain challenges legislation that puts greater emphasis on punishment than on rehabilitation, and meet with the UK government Ministry of Justice several times a year. Taking the views and experiences of Quakers to decisionmakers is a key part of the work.
We welcome the transformative approach to reducing knife crime that has been piloted in Glasgow. Karen McCluskey of the Glasgow Violence Reduction Unit explains in the TED talk below.
Examples of successful transformative justice
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The Social Justice Subcommittee produces briefings to inform Quakers about various aspects of the criminal justice system.
Briefing: Help for families and friends of someone in prison
A briefing to inform and encourage Quaker action in providing practical support to the families and friends of someone who is in prison.
Read the 'families and friends' briefing here (PDF).
Briefing: Engaging with local policing bodies
A briefing to help Quakers who wish to engage with their Police and Crime Commissioners in England and Wales and with the Police Authority in Scotland. Read the guidance here (PDF).
Booklet: An introduction to restorative justice
Get acquainted with the basics of restorative justice - what is it, who practices it, and what impact does it have on communities and criminals? Read about restorative justice here (PDF).
Booklet: Ways to witness
A directory of contacts for restorative justice organisations, plus tips on getting started in supporting restorative justice work. Read the information here (PDF).
Session plan: Why 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. Read Why Prison? (PDF).
Printed copies of these briefings can be ordered at no charge. Please email us at email@example.com to request what you or your Meeting require.
Organise a workshop
A staff member is available to come and facilitate a Transformative Justice workshop for your Area Meeting and interfaith guests. To request a workshop, contact Teresa Parker at Teresap@quaker.org.uk.