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Urgency of Now: Act Locally to Reform the Criminal Justice System

Urgency of Now: Act Locally to Reform the Criminal Justice System

Today, we face a criminal justice system that is broken and does not reflect our values as Reform Jews and as Americans. This system incarcerates 2.3 million people and most severely impacts people of color, who face inequities at every stage of the process, from policing to sentencing to reentry. There is an urgent need to reform policies and practices so that the criminal justice system truly lives up to its name.

Just last week at the Consultation on Conscience, hundreds of Reform Jews learned about criminal justice reform and urged their Members of Congress to support comprehensive federal legislation to create fairer sentencing laws, improve prison practices and encourage successful reentry. Our work cannot stop there; we must work for reform in our own communities as well.

Join the RAC’s Urgency of Now Campaign to change criminal justice policies or practices on the local level to reduce racial disparities and mass incarceration. Using our reflect, relate, reform model of racial justice work, you will form a team within your congregation, reflect with members of your congregation on race and the criminal justice system, and build relationships with local partners working on criminal justice reform. Following this, you will identify opportunities to organize with a coalition for systemic changes to sentencing, law enforcement, prison and/or reentry policy. Here are some resources to get you started:

Jacob Kraus is the campaign organizer at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, leading the Reform Movement’s Urgency of Now campaigns for criminal justice reform and immigrant justice. Based at the Union for Reform Judaism offices in New York City, Jacob grew up in Cincinnati, OH, where his family is affiliated with Rockdale Temple. He is a 2015 graduate of Macalester College.

Jacob Kraus

Published: 5/11/2017