the friend online
30 January 2009


Prisons – Quakerism’s latest challenge - preview

Bob Johnson says it is time to take our testimonies into our prisons

Slavery challenged Quakerism in multiple ways; today, prisons do the same
  • If you take a long calm look at it, avoiding the knee-jerk populist approach, then the overlap between prisons and slavery is painfully close
  • Two hundred years ago the economic case against abolishing slavery appeared overwhelming – yet principle and human values prevailed
  • Today, the link between prisons and economics is subtler, but just as offensive
  • Perhaps the most striking statistic about prisoners is that their number goes up as the wealth gap widens
  • The bigger the difference between rich and poor in a given nation, the more prisons that nation builds and the greater the number of its citizens it incarcerates
  • So it’s not crime rates that build prisons, it’s inequality – which of course was the fundamental principle behind the slave trade, then as now

  • Bob Johnson

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    This week's .pdf
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    News round-up
    ‘Heeding God’s call’ – the peace churches link up
    Lizz Roe
    Prisons – Quakerism’s latest challenge
    Bob Johnson
    Jess Pasteiner & Sarah Freeman
    In the steps of …
    Warren Bardsley
    Responding to Conflict in the Middle East
    Michael Eccles
    Time for a new Bill of Rights?
    Noël Staples
    Quakers and other faiths
    Tony Stoller


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