Quakers in Criminal Justice

July 2017 Newsletter Download PDF


I feel very privileged in compiling this newsletter due to the depth and breadth of articles that people are willing to share. I have been outraged on reading about the recent execution of Jan Arriens' friend Mike Lambrix that was recently published in The Friend. I have subsequently been deeply moved on reading extracts published here from Mike's correspondence with Jan. It seems to me that the beauty of Mike's being shines a bright light on the depravity of capital punishment and the particular cruelty of his thirty-three-year long incarceration. I am hoping that the dawn has come and his legacy may provoke change.

Our next conference is on the theme of mental health in the criminal justice system and by coincidence or design, Mike Humphries has submitted his award-winning essay describing exacerbated difficulties of imprisonment on people with mental illness. Alison Mitchell introduces the Quaker Mental Health Forum. Deborah Mitchell writes about a recent conference addressing hate crime and Steve writes about his personal awareness of accepting his prison sentence as a retreat and a second article on the importance of seeking help while Voirrey Faragher introduces the Quaker Decriminalisation Network to QICJ members.

News headlines both in the UK and even more particularly in Ireland abound with historical cases of sex abuse. Chat shows reveal the lasting difficulties suffered by victims and society clamours for more punitive retribution. Little is heard about the secondary abuse suffered by victims when they had been disbelieved or otherwise muted by society as in such case as offences by Catholic clergy or by the rich or the famous. I am left wondering whether offenders can find the space to recover when they carry the burden of our social wounds, whether victims can recover without being empowered to condemn their offender and how or where the secondary abuse can be resolved.

Finally, thanks as usual to the newsletter team: Greta, Alan and Jonathan.

Carmel Schmid

Also in this edition