Justice & Mercy Impact Ministries – JMIM
“The Gospel of Christ knows no religion but social, no holiness but social holiness. You cannot be holy except as you are engaged in making the world a better place. You do not become holy by keeping yourself pure and clean from the world but by plunging into ministry on behalf of the world’s hurting ones.”
– John Wesley
But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. – Amos 5:24
What does the church say concerning justice?
In the love of Christ, who came to save those who are lost and vulnerable, we urge the creation of a genuinely new system for the care and restoration of victims, offenders, criminal justice officials, and the community as a whole. (Social Principles ¶164 H)
Most criminal justice systems around the world are retributive. These retributive justice systems profess to hold the offender accountable to the state and use punishment as the equalizing tool for accountability. In contrast, restorative justice seeks to hold the offender accountable to the victimized person, and to the disrupted community. (Social Principles ¶164 H)
Justice can only prevail when there is healing of the victim, repentance of the offender, and when forgiveness and reconciliation are shared throughout the community. (2004 Book of Resolutions, #248 “Equal Justice”)
Prisons have ceased to be places of rehabilitation and have become rather human warehouses…The prison system of his time was one of Mr. Wesley’s primary concerns and has remained a concern of the people called Methodists into this century. The prison system in the U.S. today cries out for a major church-wide emphasis. (2004 Book of Resolutions, #256 “Prisons and Criminal Justice”)
You should also look for those able among all the people, those who fear God, are trustworthy, and hate dishonest gain…Let them sit as judges for the people at all times. – Exodus 18:21-22
What are the facts?
The U.S. House and Senate Joint Economic Committee reported that “much of the growth in the prison population is due to changing policy, not increased crime. Many criminal justice experts have found that the increase in the incarceration rate is the product of changes in penal policy and practice, not changes in crime rates.”
The United States has the highest reported incarceration rate in the world, although crime rates have steadily decreased. While the U.S. incarcerates 750 inmates per 100,000 persons, the world average rate is 166 per 100,000 persons. In addition, the United States has 1.8 million people behind bars-more people than any other country in the world-perhaps half a million more than China. One out of every 100 adult males in the USA is behind bars. The inmate population is growing by 50,000 to 80,000 per year. Prison construction is booming and a new “prison industrial complex” now costs taxpayers $35 billion a year. All this despite the fact that since 1991 the rate of violent crime in the U.S. has fallen by about 20 percent, while the number of people in prison or jail has risen by 50 percent.
Although over two thirds of crack cocaine users are white or Hispanic, over 80% of crack cocaine defendants are African American. In 1991, 900,000 children had at least one incarcerated parent; today there are two million kids with at least one incarcerated parent (an increase of more than 100%) and 10 million who have had one parent imprisoned.
Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and the break every yoke?- Isaiah 58:6
What can YOU do?
Learn more about restorative justice, lead a Bible study on justice issues in your church, assist your local church to become active in restorative justice ministries such as: assisting victims of crime, helping inmates reenter society by offering practical and necessary programs, visit detention facilities for worship services, sponsor a child for camp or mentor a child, pray for the victims, the families, the professionals and the imprisoned!
Did not your father eat and drink and do justice and righteousness?…He judged the cause of the poor and needy…Is not this to know me? says the Lord. – Jeremiah 22:15-16
For more information on any of the following program areas; please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org :
- Children and Families of the Incarcerated
- Correctional Professionals
- Releasees/After-care programs
- Incarcerated youth and adults
And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your god? – Micah 6:8