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Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice

Newark, NJ

Kadi and family

Kadi (far right), her two sisters, and their father, with a photo of their mother who was deported in 2002.

Photo: Ester Jove Soligue

The Newark office is home to the Immigrant Rights Program, the New Jersey base of the Healing Justice Program, and the online home for the New York Metro Internship Project.

The Immigrant Rights Program integrates legal services, advocacy, and organizing, providing legal representation in challenging immigration cases and also ensuring that immigrant voices in New Jersey and beyond are heard in policy debates. The program responds to myths about immigrants through presentations and media work.

The New York and New Jersey Healing Justice and Prison Watch Programs empower individuals harmed by criminal justice policies and violence to heal and transform the conditions under which they live. We recognize and advance the worth and dignity of all people in and around the criminal justice system.

The New York Metro Internship Project engages college and graduate students with hands-on, summer work experiences with AFSC.

Bay Area Healing Justice

The Healing Justice Program in San Francisco works to reduce reliance on incarceration and other punitive approaches and replace them with restorative/healing practices. Toward that end we concentrate on four areas: mass incarceration, long term isolation, the death penalty, and the promotion of healing alternatives.

In coalition with Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB), AFSC helps influence and monitor implementation of the U.S. Supreme Court decision requiring California to reduce its prison population; proposes sentencing policy changes that will reduce the number of people in prison; and promotes evidence-based programming that reduces recidivism.

The Healing Justice Program works to abolish the death penalty in California by collaborating with California People of Faith Working Against the Death Penalty. California People of Faith mobilizes religious organizations to advocate for an end to capital punishment.

The Healing Justice Program is also part of the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition (PHSS), along with other organization, activists, and family members of prisoners in solitary confinement. The Coalition works to drastically reduce the number of people held in isolation, institute due process, and address conditions of confinement. AFSC advocates implementation of the five demands of hunger strikers, and serves on the Mediation Team and Legislative Teams to advocate for policy changes.

AFSC also promotes healing and wholeness approaches as alternatives to violence and punishment. Program staff develop relevant curricula and have influenced community-based programs in at least two counties.



Addressing prisons

Solitary Confinement.

Photo: AFSC / Vargas Martin

Early Quakers were leaders in the prison reform movements in England and later in colonies such as Pennsylvania.  AFSC has carried the concern for prisoners, as well as victims for many years, believing that even if a person is convicted of a crime, incarceration should not take away their inherent dignity or humanity.

Prisoners are entitled to proper medical care, appropriate mental health services, and interaction with others.  AFSC opposes maximum security prisons and their lockdown procedures as dehumanizing and violating the Divine Spark within those incarcerated.  And we work for the abolition of the death penalty. 

AFSC calls this healing justice.  This programs acknowledge that the majority of prisoners will return to the outside world and that communities have a responsibility to aid them as they rejoin society.  We have worked with released prisoners on reentry into their communities and have encouraged their families to speak out if they know about abuses or poor treatment in prisons. 


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