Faith Based Initiative Seeks Alternatives to Incarceration at Drug Policy Conference

Turning Left is helping to get the word out about this conference.  The organization Protestants for the Common Good is working towards the legalization of marijuana:

Chicago, IL– State-wide education and advocacy organization, Protestants for the Common Good, is hosting a drug policy conference at Roosevelt University the morning of Friday, June 12th to explore new directions for drug policy and alternatives to incarceration. A diverse group of experts will highlight strategies employed locally, nationally and internationally for coping with issues related to incarceration due to illegal drug use and abuse.

“By hosting this conference, we hope to inspire a new initiative for Illinois drug laws, one which focuses on street level intervention initiatives, no?entry strategies, and successful reentry programs, ”says Rev. Alexander Sharp, Executive Director of PCG.

“Our faith tells us that all individuals in society deserve a second chance, and current social systems are not only discriminatory, but work in exactly the opposite direction.”

The program will also bring forward the personal testimonies of two Chicagoans whose lives were altered by addiction, and will include information from Roosevelt University’s Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy Research.

Key policy alternatives such as decriminalization and legalization will be discussed, with special guest Rep. Jeffrion Aubry (D?35) from the New York State General Assembly speaking to the recently repealed Rockefeller Drug Laws. These laws enforced mandatory sentencing and lowered trigger amounts leading to mass incarceration over the past 30 years. Similar laws exist in Illinois, and have exacerbated the problem by emphasizing a punitive solution.

Featured speakers on the agenda include: Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director, Drug Policy Alliance: Rep. Louis Lang (D?16), Illinois General Assembly: Don MacPherson, Drug Policy Coordinator, Vancouver, Canada: Rep. Arthur Turner (D?9) Illinois House of Representatives, and Pamela Rodriguez, Executive Vice President, TASC?Illinois.

The event speaks directly to crucial issues for PCG, an organization that has worked for the past decade to reform injustice where it appears in the police, judicial, and penal systems, to reestablish rehabilitative resources and services in jails and prisons, and to remove legal and employment barriers for ex?offenders so they may become productive contributors to the common good.

“We have become a prison nation in the past 30 years, and people are incarcerated with a racial disparity that is immoral. There are far better alternatives than recycling individuals through prison, with enormous cost to society and with little or no opportunity to flourish for the rest of their lives,” concludes Rev. Sharp.

Local government, community organizations, and faith leaders will be in attendance.

Source: Protestants for the Common Good