Prison Reform Task Force

JOSHUA Prison Reform Task Force
ROC Brown County~ Restoring Our Communities in Brown County

BAN THE BOX
The JOSHUA Prison Reform Task Force has had a powerful year! We have risen to the challenge of employment barriers for those who have a criminal record. This took shape in the Ban the Box Campaign.

What is Ban the Box?
Many employment applications include a box asking one to indicate a prior felony, ordinance violation or misdemeanor. When the Box is checked, these applications are often dismissed without a chance at an interview. We know that employment is one of the best ways to decrease recidivism and makes more possible for people leaving prison or jail to come home find work. Though a prison or jail sentence is served or a fine paid checking the Box amounts to another sentence limiting one’s opportunity for employment and restoration to community. Banning this Box diminishes the potential for employers to discriminate on the basis of prior convictions.   However, Ban the Box will not prevent background checks typically done for all candidates later in the hiring process. Banning the Box will not change laws that specify certain convictions cannot work in particular occupations, nor will this force employers to hire people not qualified for a position.

Why JOSHUA is Involved…
Our faith calls us to Godly justice that restores individuals and communities. Our faith calls us to see the God given worthy, dignity, talents and abilities in all people regardless of a criminal record. Close to a fourth of Brown County residents have a conviction record so this is vital for the health and wholeness of our community. This is about members of our faith communities, friends, families, neighbors who are finding barriers to employment.

We Rose to the Challenge!
On October 18th, 2017 the Brown County Board passed an ordinance to Ban the Box in Brown County! This action reflected well over a year of advocacy work by the Prison Reform Task Force in talking with elected officials, involving people impacted and concerned community members, attending and speaking at County Board meetings, writing letters, and being part of media events. In this process we found an amazing ally in Supervisor Mark Becker who took on this challenge in putting forward an ordinance to Ban the Box permanently in Brown County. We are grateful for the conversations with so many of our County Board Supervisors who took time to research this issue considering the impact on our community.

 

SOLITARY CONFINEMENT
In the Spring of 2017 we brought back to Brown County the replica solitary confinement cell. The cell was hosted by First Presbyterian Church in De Pere. Through the week we hosted an open house, welcomed guest speakers, heard personal testimonials and shared in a prayer vigil. The week’s activities again highlighted the realities of people subjected to torture.   Our faith led us to again rise to the challenge of addressing the dehumanizing nature of solitary confinement practices in Wisconsin. We shined a light on torture that often lasts weeks, months, years and decades. Again calling for practices that work to rehabilitate, renew and restore people to community.

 

WE REMAIN UP TO THE CHALLENGE
As we look to 2018 we seek to be faithful to God’s call to true justice that restores and heals individuals, families and communities. We are grateful for JOSHUA’s long history of work on reform of our corrections system. Early on JOSHUA’s work helped form Brown County’s first Treatment Alternative Court, the Drug Court. Since then an additional Mental Health, Veterans and Heroin Court have been launched in Brown County.   As concerns about prison and jail overcrowding are expressed we may seek to build upon the work of our early days in advocating for expanded treatment alternatives to prison and jail.

 

We remain up for the challenge… will you join us? Are you up for the challenge?
Join us the fourth Thursday of the month at 5:30pm at West Side Moravian Church.

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    Save the Date!

    Save the Date!

    We are very excited to announce that our 14th Annual JOSHUA Banquet will be on Friday, November 2nd at the Tundra Lodge Resort & Conference Center! Please make sure you add this to you calendar, and stay tuned for more details!

    Every year we have a team come together to plan the annual JOSHUA banquet; but this year we're going to do things a bit differently. We are going to form smaller committees to really focus on one aspect of the banquet to make the whole banquet stronger than ever before. I ask you think about if there is one or two areas that you can really bring your strengths. By dividing up the work; it will make the work easier for everyone, as well as require less meetings for all! Please take a minute to consider where your talents can be used to help strengthen JOSHUA and the 2018 14th Annual JOSHUA Banquet. Click here to fill out the form.

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    Internship Opportunity

    Are you or someone you know looking for an internship?

    Internship Opportunities: Summer and Fall 2018

    JOSHUA seeks interns for course credit for Summer and Fall of 2018

    About JOSHUA (Justice Organization Sharing Hope United for Action):
    JOSHUA is an interfaith social-justice systemic change organization. We are grassroots and non-profit (501c3), focusing our work in the Brown County and surrounding areas of Wisconsin. JOSHUA is a coalition of faith communities in Brown County dedicated to building and deepening relationships within and among faith communities. It empowers and equips people to work together on issues of justice and community building. JOSHUA builds relationships in the public and private sector in order to advance issues, which represent our common faith values. We seek to identify and take action on root causes of poverty, oppression and injustice. For more information about JOSHUA go to: www.joshua4justice.org

    Internship Responsibilities:
    Interns will learn more about the operations of nonprofit organizations and will work closely with experienced professional staff. Intern(s) will gain skills in organizing, fundraising, public policy, and advocacy.

    Reporting to the Community Organizer, the Program Intern(s) will work to pass and defend top issues by: 1) engaging citizens on mental health, prison reform, and environmental justice issue campaigns, 2) generating and tracking media coverage; 3) recruiting a new generation of members to our social networking sites; 4) encouraging on-line supporters to take action and volunteer 5) updating media contacts; and 6) assisting with issue research.

    Skills Required:

    • Organized with strong written and verbal communication skills.
    • Ability to conduct research on-line or through traditional media.
    • Database management experience and event planning skills a plus.
    • Independently motivated and enjoy working with people. 
Details 
    • Interns will work from the Green Bay office of JOSHUA, located at 130 St Matthew Street, Green Bay WI 54301. Interns can arrange to work remotely.
    • Interns may earn 2-4 course credits (typically, students earn 1 credit for every 3-4 hours worked per week). The position is unpaid. Internships not for class credit also available upon request.
    • Interns are responsible for finding a faculty sponsor and meeting all internship requirements of the college or university. 
To Apply 
Please send a letter of interest and resume to Rachel Westenberg at rachel.wisdomwi@gmail.com Call 920-360-3538 with any questions. 
Deadline 
Positions are Limited. Early Applications will be given preference.

    JOSHUA is looking for summer and fall interns for 2018! Check it out here: Internship Opportunities Summer and Fall 2018

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    Mental Health Awareness Month - QPR Training

    To acknowledge Mental Health Awareness month, our May monthly meeting will be a QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) training provided by Korina Aghmar from Brown County Health Department.

    Registration is NOT needed to attend but VERY helpful when planning materials for the training. Registration form here: http://www.joshua4justice.org/justice-committees/mental-health/qpr/

    Suicide Prevention Workshop
    Learn the warning signs of suicide and how to help someone in need.
    QPR; Questions, Persuade, Refer
    Just as people are trained in CPR help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to questions, persuade, and refer to help someone.

    Anyone who is interested can attend this important training on Thursday, May 3rd 2018 at 6pm at West Side Moravian Church (1707 S Oneida Street, Green Bay, WI 54304)

    Hosted by the: JOSHUA Mental Health Task Force

    More than 700 people die by suicide every year in Wisconsin. Many of those are in Brown County - learn how you can help!

    **Please note the change in time from our usual starting time.

    This event is free and open to the public.

     

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    JOSHUA Sustaining Membership

    Click here to learn more!

    We have started 2018 off with lots of action. From public forums, to board retreats, and actively working on issues of mental health, prison reform, and environmental justice we continue to build JOSHUA to be a powerful organization of change in Brown County Wisconsin.

    With all action there is always a cost. That is why from March 1st 2018- April 30th 2018 we are having a Sustaining Member Campaign. JOSHUA’s strength comes from our numbers and from our solidarity. Just imagine:  if JOSHUA had 150 members giving an average of $20 each month, JOSHUA would have an additional $36,000 every year to dedicate to the fight of doin’ justice.

    We are well aware that some of you already contribute monthly and your support is greatly appreciated. When you originally decided to become a monthly sustainer, we are sure it was based upon your financial position at that time. As you continue to assess your charitable contributions you may be interested in expanding your commitment to JOSHUA.

    In the past some members had difficulty remembering when their annual membership contribution was due. With a monthly contribution you are always up to date.

    Please consider becoming a sustaining member of JOSHUA as we continue to fight for justice in Brown County WI.

    Thank you in advance for your ongoing support,

    Jim Soletski and Amy Bozzacco
    JOSHUA Leadership Team

    Click here to learn more!

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    Alternative Vision to Corrections...the conversation continued. Sentencing

    Alternative Vision to Corrections...the conversation continued.

    Come join us as we continue our conversation of an alternative vision to corrections with a public forum focusing on sentencing.

    Our Panelists for the evening include:
    Dana Johnson, Deputy District Attorney
    Honorable Donald R Zuidmulder
    Tara Teesch, Criminal Defense Attorney

    -How does a judge decide how much time is necessary in a sentence?
    -Are there other opportunities instead of incarceration and sitting in jail?
    -How do judges, the district attorney's office, and criminal defense attorneys go about their jobs knowing that Wisconsin has one of the highest rates of racial disparities in incarceration?

    Thursday, February 22nd
    6:00 p.m.
    West side Moravian Church
    1707 S Oneida Street
    Green Bay, WI 54301

    Click here for the facebook event page.

    Click here for more information about our Prison Reform Task Force.

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