Bishop Harry Jackson Calls for Criminal Justice Reform In Open Letter to President Obama

Harry R. Jackson Jr.
Harry R. Jackson Jr.

Bishop Harry Jackson, chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and one of the chief organizers of “The Reconciled Church: Healing the Racial Divide” summit in Dallas last week, has written an open letter to President Barack Obama, calling for him to address criminal justice reform in his State of the Union on Tuesday.

“Part of the mistrust of law enforcement in urban areas has to do with the large number of ex-convicts who live in our cities,” the letter says. “The 800-pound gorilla in the room is the growing number of black and brown Americans who are becoming part of a permanent underclass because of jail time. … Ex-convicts have a problem with re-entry into society. Further, their families suffer because of the low-income potential and numerous other consequences of having a criminal conviction on their records.”

The Reconciled Church attracted more than 100 Christian leaders, including Andrew Young, the former U.N. ambassador, congressman and Atlanta mayor. The summit, hosted by Bishop T.D. Jakes at The Potter’ House, came in the wake of the recent killings of black males by white police offers in Ferguson, Missouri, and Staten Island, New York, and the slaying of two New York policeman.

One of the “Seven Bridges to Peace” highlighted at the summit was criminal-justice reform, with roughly two-thirds of the U.S. prison population being black or brown. The Department of Justice website says, “More than 650,000 ex-offenders are released from prison every year, and studies show that approximately two-thirds will likely be rearrested within three years of release.”

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SOURCE: Charisma News
Steve Yount

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