Sunday, May 29, 2011

Interesting book!

Also at the AVP national conference, the keynote speaker was Laura Magnani of the American Friends Service Committee. Magnani is the coauthor of a book titled, "Beyond Prisons: A New Interfaith Paradigm for Our Failed Prison System," written with Harmon L. Wray. The book critiques the current prison system, traces the history of the penal system, offers strong ethical and moral assessments of it, and lays out a new paradigm of criminal justice based on restorative justice and reconciliation. The authors put forward a 12-point plan for change and invoke our responsibilities as citizens and as a nation to provide remediation rather than mere retributive incarceration, answerable to the common good and the justice of God. Speaking purely for myself, and with apologuies to my agnostic or athiest friends, I am increasingly finding a spiritual imperative in our prison work, so was delighted to encounter this book. (Also, I think such work can help those of us on the left to dialogue productively with our possible allies on the right who are also active in prison work...)

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