2015 Domestic U.S. Workshops

Consequences of the U.S. War on Drugs

Saturday, Apr 18, 2015, 2:00 pm

The US policy response to drug abuse and addiction has focused heavily on law enforcement and criminal justice solutions. This policy emphasis has led to an erosion of civil liberties and human rights and jeopardizes public health, especially for low income and minority communities. This workshop will examine new policy approaches and the Church’s critical role in reorienting the public debate on drug use by shifting the focus from punishment to public health.


Jasmine Tyler, Senior Policy Analyst, Open Society Foundations

Billy Easley, Legislative Counsel for U.S. Senator Rand Paul

Roscoe Jones, Senior Counsel for U.S. Senator Cory Booker

Rev. Edwin Sanders (invited), Senior Servant and Founder of the Metropolitan Interdenominational Church in Nashville, Tennessee

Criminalization of Communities of Color: Race & Incarceration

Saturday, Apr 18, 2015, 2:00 pm

According the Sentencing Project, 60% of the US prison population is disproportionately represented by black and brown people. How did we get here? What can be done to end this trend? How are communities of faith and formerly incarcerated people working to make change? This workshop will identify the policies and practices that drive these statistics and consider actions that can produce racially equitable outcomes within the justice system.


Dr. Nazgol Ghandnoosh, The Sentencing Project

Rev Charles Boyer, Pastor, African Methodist Episcopal Church

Lewis Webb, Jr., Campaign to End the New Jim Crow, American Friends Service Committee. 

How Churches Can Engage to End Mass Incarceration

Saturday, Apr 18, 2015, 2:00 pm

The causes of Mass Incarceration are systemic, but individual churches can make a difference. Learn what one community in Trenton, New Jersey is doing to help citizens returning from prison reintegrate into their communities to help break the cycle of incarceration and poverty. Rev. Toby D. Sanders is the Founding Pastor and Bible Teacher at Beloved Community – a loving and progressive community of faith in Trenton, NJ. He is also an Academic Advisor and Lead Instructor at NJ-STEP (Scholarship Transformative Education in Prison) an association of higher education institutions in New Jersey that works in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Corrections and State Parole Board, to provide higher education courses for all students under the custody of the State of New Jersey while they are incarcerated, and assist in the transition to college life upon their release into the community.

Money Talks: How Your Voice in the Budget Debates Can Help Revolutionize Our Mass Incarceration System

Saturday, Apr 18, 2015, 2:00 pm

The U.S. spends tens of billions of dollars a year on our prison system. Many states spend more money on incarceration than on higher education. Could elected officials redirect some of these resources to other priority needs without sacrificing public safety—like education and job training for people in prison, reentry services, neighborhood policing, community building, housing assistance, restoring cuts to critical anti-poverty programs, or even deficit reduction? Congressional partisanship appears to be rising to an all-time high, but there’s growing bipartisan consensus that our mass incarceration system costs too much, requiring federal dollars that the government doesn’t have to spend. Examining our mass incarceration system through the green lens of a budget perspective may be one of the most effective ways of both reducing the prison population and over-criminalization faced by many segments of our society. Learn how to make your voice heard on these issues. Smart budget decisions could propel us towards a more just future.

The Face of Modern Day Slavery: Identifying and Responding to Trafficking in America

Saturday, Apr 18, 2015, 2:00 pm

This workshop will focus on community, and service based intervention to human trafficking. It will specifically look how misperceptions of trafficking and who a victim is, are barriers to identifying, intervening, or preventing modern day slavery. It will also touch on how current policies and program structures present challenges to serving the unique needs of this vulnerable population. Participants will be presented with how the Catholic and other faith communities are responding, as well as ways in which they can engage with local service providers and their churches to identify and respond to human trafficking.


Moderator: Hillary Chester, Associate Director of Anti-Trafficking Programs, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops


Marissa Castellanos, Human Trafficking Program Manager, Catholic Charities of Louisville

Diane Baird, Program Manager, Refugee Services Division, Lutheran Social Services of Michigan

Representative of The Salvation Army

Alternatives to Detention: Success in Our Communities

Saturday, Apr 18, 2015, 3:45 pm

Recognizing that detention is not appropriate for many persons convicted of crimes and for undocumented immigrants, this workshop will examine policies that promote alternatives to incarceration. We will also describe successful community programs that save money and avoid the challenges of reintegration after imprisonment.


Sister JoAnn Persch from the Sisters of Mercy will present on her community-based alternatives to detention program in Illinois which houses and supports undocumented immigrants released from immigration detention.

Nicole D. Porter, Director of Advocacy for The Sentencing Project.

Equipping All Saints for the Work of Racial Justice

Saturday, Apr 18, 2015, 3:45 pm

The purpose of this session is to provide background and tools for becoming advocates and allies for racial justice. The workshop presents some biblical aspirations for racial justice work, a timeline of resistance to racism; engages participants experientially through multi-media and exercises to understand racial socialization and whiteness, and shares with one another ways in creating a sense of hope in our institutions and faith communities.



Rev. April G. Johnson, Minister of Reconciliation, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Rev. Elizabeth Leung, Minister for Racial Justice, United Church of Christ

Rev. Brad A. Martell, Peace and Justice Ministries, Community of Christ.

For-Profit Prisons: Exploitation and Immigrant Detention

Saturday, Apr 18, 2015, 3:45 pm

This workshop will explore the rise of for-profit prisons, how other for-profit companies partner with private detention facilities to exploit detainees for their labor, and the ways this industry tries to influence policies, particularly on immigration, to increase their revenue that result in more and more people put behind bars. While some view mass incarceration and the role of racism with deep concern, for-profit prison corporations view an increase in prisoners as a way to vastly increase their bottom line – especially when it comes to the booming industry of immigrant detention. Upon leaving the workshop attendees will have strategies in hand for how they and their home communities can help disrupt the for-profit prison industry as a driver of incarceration, detention and human suffering.


Bob Libal, Executive Director of Grassroots Leadership

Mary Small of Detention Watch Network

Dave Pierre, Immigrant formerly detained at GEO and CCA.


Incarcerated Victims / Punished Pain: Opening the Church to “Those People”

Saturday, Apr 18, 2015, 3:45 pm

There is sadly a disconnect between many of our churches and “those people” who have been in prison, or who live with experiences such as abuse, addiction or mental illness that are closely linked to the risk of incarceration. Women at the Well, a church based inside a women’s prison in Mitchellville, Iowa, amplifies some voices that will help us examine that gap and consider how we as churches can bridge it. How have we missed including these sisters (and brothers) within our fellowship? We have viewed these persons, too often, as scary perpetrators from whom we need protection, rather than as precious, often wounded children of God. We will learn more about these friends, and consider how God is calling us to correct the systemic injustices that keep them at the margins of our ministries and institutions.

Returning Home after Incarceration: Breaking Down Obstacles for Successful Reintegration

Saturday, Apr 18, 2015, 3:45 pm

Each year 700,000 people are released from prison and millions more cycle in and out of local jails. The transition home is complicated by discrimination against people with criminal records. The American Bar Association has identified 45,000 collateral consequences of incarceration. People leaving prison face restrictions on employment, housing, voting, welfare and food stamp eligibility to name just a few examples. Learn what’s being done to defeat these obstacles and how you can play a powerful role in improving the reentry process for hundreds of thousands of people.

Roots of Injustice: Toward Right Relationship with America’s Native Peoples

Saturday, Apr 18, 2015, 3:45 pm

***Participation is limited to 25 persons. You must request a (free) ticket on Friday of EAD at the registration table. ***

This participatory workshop traces the historic and ongoing impacts of the Doctrine of Christian Discovery, the explicit 15th-century justification for European subjugation of non-Christian, non-white peoples. The roots of this doctrine are centuries old, but they still guide government and private decisions about what is acceptable and right action, with respect to Native peoples and their lands, religions, languages, and cultures.


Paula Palmer, Activist for Human Rights

Exploitation Through Power: How Citizens United and Corporations Are Drowning Out the Voice of the American People

Sunday, Apr 19, 2015, 2:00 pm

This workshop will examine how corporate power erodes our ability to address climate change, prevent gun violence, pass just and humane immigration reform and attend to any number of other justice issues. We will look at the history of corporate power and how recent court decisions such as Citizens United have expanded that power. Finally, the workshop will look at how our faith based advocacy and personal choices can help to dismantle that power.


Jason Miller, Franciscan Action Network

Marianne Comfort, Sisters of Mercy

Aquene Freechild, Public Citizen

Rev. Stacy Martin from ELCA

No Place for a Child: Youth incarceration and the Cradle to Prison Pipeline

Sunday, Apr 19, 2015, 2:00 pm

The rate of incarceration of young people in the U.S. is the highest in the world. More must be done to understand the racial, gender, economic, and criminal justice system factors that contribute to these trends, and what must be done as people of faith to end youth incarceration and ultimately save lives. Special attention will be paid to the problem of youth being tried as adults, alternatives to incarceration, and role that literacy and education have in prevention. Come hear from legal experts, advocates, and individuals who escaped the prison pipeline and now work to end it.

Workshop Resources:

Tania Galloni, Southern Poverty Law Center

Rev. Dr. Russell L. Meyer, Florida Council of Churches

Samantha Simpore and guest, New Beginnings Youth Development Center

Rev. Judith Youngman, United Church of Christ

A Life-Giving Alternative: Restorative Justice

Sunday, Apr 19, 2015, 2:00 pm

Our retributive criminal justice system feeds a national culture of violence and revenge. Other approaches to justice DO exist. This workshop will provide an overview of the philosophy of restorative justice and how its focus on repairing harm provides a promising answer to the question “How do we fix our broken justice system?” Attend our workshop to learn about successful restorative justice programs and hear the stories of real people whose lives have been touched by the life-giving principles of restorative justice.


Hector Verdugo, Associate Executive Director of Homeboy Industries

Rev. Karen Harrison, Reentry Coordinator, Welcome Home Reentry Program, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington

Scott Paltrowitz, Associate Director of the Prison Visiting Project and Correctional Association of New York


Contributing Sponsors & Partner Organizations