This update is brough by the “Mass Incarceration” Sub-group of Facing Racism, and includes an important action item!
In August, parishioners have various opportunities to learn more about the issue of mass incarceration.
First, you can access a recording of an enlightening webinar hosted by a various local faith groups including MICAH. It sheds light on problems associated with mass incarceration and why faith communities should be involved in ending it. The webinar features reflections from U.S. Senator Raphael G. Warnock, a Senior Pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta and founding member of the national multifaith initiative to End Mass Incarceration (EMI). Our Facing Racism Committee encourages everyone to watch the recording to gain an understanding of a grave societal and moral issue of our time. You need to enter a passcode after clicking on the recording link below. The passcode is 7D?X1Mbn. Link here.
Second, the next event hosted by the national EMI group for Wisconsin is entitled Congregational Expungement Training. It is via Zoom on Wednesday, August 4, 4 p.m. CT. Here we can learn how to conduct or assist in an expungement clinic to move us closer to restorative justice rather than retributive justice. Join the training on Aug. 4th by clicking with this link. Criminal records create barriers to employment and housing opportunities. One solution is expungement – the sealing of a criminal case file for low-level convictions. Wisconsin’s expungement law is only available to those under age 25 at the time of the crime. A bi-partisan bill would remove the age limit and expand the number of people who could apply for expungement. The bill does not change the type of crimes eligible for expungement. The Wisconsin Catholic Conference says; “By making expungement more attainable, Senate Bill 78 gives those with criminal records a horizon of hope. It is this hope that will help them reintegrate into society and enable them to embrace opportunities for advancement.” We urge all parishioners to contact your state senator now to encourage support of this bill. Find your state senator here.
Finally, all are welcome to join our monthly Mass Incarceration Workgroup meetings. Our next meeting is Thursday, August 12, at 6:30 p.m. where we will have a guest speaker, Ron Schroeder. Ron is a member of Mother of Good Counsel parish and an organizer with EXPO (EX-incarcerated People Organizing). He will share his experience with the system of mass incarceration, details on his work to improve it and how we can get involved. We meet by Zoom. To receive the Zoom meeting link, email firstname.lastname@example.org to be put in touch with the group chair.