EJUSA is thrilled to be featured in a new publication, “A Handbook for Jewish Communities Fighting Mass Incarceration,” by the Jewish human rights organization, T’ruah. The Handbook is a comprehensive guide for action from a Jewish perspective. It contains background information on various aspects of mass incarceration, from what happens when police stop people on the streets, to conditions inside jails and prisons, to the challenges people face when they leave incarceration and attempt to rebuild their lives.
Our contribution, “Building a justice system rooted in healing,” is written by EJUSA Executive Director Shari Silberstein. It includes EJUSA’s unique perspective on crime survivors’ needs:
In our work to end the death penalty over the last 25 years, we’ve met and worked with hundreds of family members who have lost loved ones to murder. Some supported the death penalty and others opposed it. But what united them all was the devastating trauma they experienced in the wake of their unimaginable loss…
The assumption is that justice means punishment for someone who has done something wrong. A crime happens, law enforcement finds out who did it, the courts hand down a sentence, and the crime victim is healed.
So the story goes. The reality is much more complex.
The vast majority of crime survivors’ needs have nothing to do with what happens to the person who harmed them.
Shari goes on to outline the plethora of needs that crime victims have, beyond punishment – most of which are not addressed in policy.
Crime survivors are rarely offered more than an alienating legal process as the primary salve for their wounds.
She concludes by reminding readers that criminal justice reform and addressing mass incarceration must include
advocacy for resources and life saving services that will support survivors after tragedy strikes.
Visit T’ruah’s website to download the full handbook.