Quaker Committee on Jails and Justice
Organization profile published 1982
Year Published: 1982
Resource Type: Organization
Cx Number: CX2430
QUAKER COMMITTEE ON JAILS AND JUSTICE (AQCJJ) holds, as its long-term goal, the abolition of prisons; that is the building of supportive community which has no need of prisons.
Abstract: QUAKER COMMITTEE ON JAILS AND JUSTICE (AQCJJ) holds, as its long-term goal, the abolition of prisons; that is the building of supportive community which has no need of prisons. Their concern is rooted in Quaker testimony to peace, justice and answering the divine that they believe resides in everyone. The committee's analysis is that prisons are violent to those inside and outside the walls. They do not allow for reconciliation between 'victim' and 'offender' and they deny prisoners responsibility. Prisons house the poor, many for victimless crimes, and divert our attention from large social crimes. They ignore the root causes of conflict.
AQCJJ was formed in 1974 by a group of Friends who were disturbed by injustices they saw in the system. Their experiences led them from concern for reform to that of abolition. AQCJJ is now a national committee, based in Toronto and made up of about forty volunteers and one paid staff person. The work is shared between two sub-committees: Education/Political Action and Direct Services.
Educational activities include workshops, conferences and production and distribution of educational material. Political actions reflect Friends' ('Quakers') commitment to "speak truth to power". Some of these actions have been demonstrations, meeting with politicians, letter writing, building and promoting various alternatives to prisons and advocating non-violence training.
AQCJJ draws its experience from entering prisons on a regular basis. They also try to be sensitive to the needs of the prison guards. The Committee's programs involve "Quaker silence" and sharing on topics of mutual interest.
See also CX2975.