Bishops Endorse Prop 47, Prison Reform

Bishops Endorse Prop 47, Prison Reform

by The Episcopal Diocese of Northern California

The Rt. Rev. Barry L. Beisner, bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Northern California, has joined together with the Episcopal bishops of the state of California, which includes five dioceses, to sign an endorsement of Proposition 47, the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act.

The Rev. Peggy Bryan, Priest Associate at St. Philip's Episcopal Church in San Jose (located in The Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real) prepared a statement explaining this unanimous decision by the bishops. The Rev. Bryan is working to raise awareness and inspire action towards prison reform. Here are a few highlights from her statement:

"The criminal justice system in the state of California is in perpetual distress. Most of our prisons are operating at 200% of their intended capacity and, with the implementation of the 2011 AB 109 realignment law, many county jails are even more crowded.

"On the November ballot is Proposition 47. The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act offers hope we can break the destructive cycle of crime and recidivism. Prop 47 will change six of the lowest-level, nonviolent crimes from felonies to misdemeanors.

"Our Baptismal Covenant is not a suggestion. It is a promise that we will strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being. Proposition 47 aligns with our values as Episcopalians in solidarity with justice, fairness, love and mercy. To this end, the Episcopal bishops of the state of California unanimously endorse Proposition 47 and encourage the state's Episcopalians to cast their November ballot in favor of Proposition 47."

Click here to read the Rev. Peggy Bryan's full statement.

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