Lehigh County Conference of Churches -- Justice and Advocacy Fall Gathering

The Heart of Justice


Lehigh County Conference of Churches

Justice & Advocacy

The Heart of Justice:
Breaking the Cycle of
Fear, Violence, Punishment, Retaliation

Saturday, November 9, 2013
Sacred Heart Hospital

Morning Plenary: Our Prison Industrial Complex

Morning Breakout Session: Workshops (choose one)*

Also see schedule and speakers pages for additional information.
  1. Face of the PrisonerRev. Karen Moeschberger
    Who lands in Pennsylvania lock-ups and why? What are the effects of the "war on drugs," mandatory minimum sentences, closing of mental hospitals, racial bias in the "justice" system, ...?
  2. Understanding Inmates and Life IssuesRev. Shirl Comick
    Inmates are people who are often overlooked and looked down on in society. They need to embrace God's love and forgiveness as they face individual life issues and gain that sense of self awareness and self worth. The Church can be that bridge to total transformation by way of the Gospel as they prepare to transition back into society.
  3. Decarcerate Pennsylvania Hakim Ali, Sarah Small, Ashley Henderson, Nikki Grant, Erika Slaymaker
    Decarcerate Pennsylvania (now based in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh) is a broad coalition of folks concerned about Pennsylvania's continually-increasing prison population and would like to expand its organizing to the Lehigh Valley and other communities. Decarcerate has a three-point platform:
    • Let's build no more new prisons.
    • Let's decarcerate; that is, let's reduce the number of people in prison.
    • Community reinvestment - instead of expanding prisons, invest more in schools, stable housing, jobs, job training, healthcare, food access, and other programs that address the root causes of violence.
  4. The Life of Inmates and Family CommunicationsRev. Michael Comick
    A focus on what life is like for an inmate and the importance of family connections.

Afternoon Plenary: Restorative Practices

  • "Burning Bridges": Restorative Justice in Action: John Bailie
    This workshop will examine the fundamental assumptions of punitive/retributive justice versus restorative justice. Commonly, restorative justice advocates focus on the need for more compassion in the act of seeking justice. However, this presentation will focus on how restorative justice actually provides more intense and effective accountability for offenders, while also meeting the needs of those impacted. Participants will view the documentary film "Burning Bridges" - about the arson of Mood's Bridge, a historic covered bridge in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, USA, and the restorative conference held in its wake. Participants will then have an opportunity to explore how they can use informal restorative practices in the context of their daily life and work.
  • Wrap Up: What Comes Next?

*The program and workshop offerings are subject to change. Please check this page again for updates.

Last Updated: 11/7/2013
Created: September 22, 2013