T’ruah’s campaign to end mass incarceration engages rabbis, cantors, and their communities in making concrete change locally and nationally to reform our broken criminal justice system. We believe that the goal of our criminal justice system should be teshuvah, not simply punishment.
“I realized [visiting a congregant in prison] that I was privy to a view that few of us ever get: a glimpse behind the walls into the masses of people that we, as a society, send outside the camp…I have thought about [him], his fellow prisoners, and our broken justice and prison systems every day since.”
—Rabbi Michael Lezak, Congregation Rodef Shalom, San Rafael, CA
Our work includes:
Advocating for an end to police practices that result in disproportionate stops, arrests, and deaths of people of color.
Organizing rabbis and their communities to protest police violence and to demand full investigations in cases of killings by police officers.
Advocating for more just sentencing policies.
Organizing to end prolonged solitary confinement, which international law experts have classified as torture.
Helping Jewish communities to volunteer with incarcerated individuals and their families, employ the formerly incarcerated, and engage in local campaigns to change state criminal justice laws.
Educating the Jewish community about why our current system of mass incarceration benefits none of us.
T’ruah’s Handbook for Jewish Communities Fighting Mass Incarceration provides background resources, sermon sparks and extensive Jewish materials, and ways for Jewish communities to take action.
September 28, 2016
Law provides strict guidelines for when and how solitary confinement for juveniles can be used. It calls for isolation to be used only as a last resort, for no more than four hours, and only if there is a threat to the safety of the young person or others around him or her.
August 19, 2016
NEW YORK—The Justice Department announced in a memo this week that it will be reducing its contracts with private prison operators with the goal of…
July 8, 2016
T’ruah’s statement on the shootings in Dallas and the killings of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and Michael Schumacher