Message From the Chair – Fall 2013
On August 12, 2013, Eric Holder, the US Attorney General, gave his annual address to the American Bar Association in San Francisco. Holder took the opportunity to declare that our prison system is broken and needs to be reformed. He cited the following statistics: “While the entire U.S. population has increased by about a third since 1980, the federal prison population has grown…by almost 800 percent… Even though this country comprises just 5 percent of the world’s population, we incarcerate almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners.”
In America, we lock up too many, for too long, for too little. Philosophically, we are supposed to incarcerate to punish, deter and rehabilitate. Our current practice is to warehouse and forget. Holder said pointedly, that we need to spend more time, resources and attention on rehabilitating and releasing human beings who are undeserving of being stigmatized forever and capable of contributing valuably to our communities.
With the weight of his high office, Holder validates that IOW, founded 17 years ago by Sister Janet, has been right all along. We all know that. We have and continue to do the work that society is now realizing matters, is valuable and just. I am proud to stand alongside all of you as we carry forward our mission.
Board of Directors