Prison Reform Task Force

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

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.


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.


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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    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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    Last Call for Banquet Tickets!

    Last Call for Banquet Tickets!

    Good Morning Everyone!

    I hope this email finds you all well! Happy banquet week! We are so excited to see so many of you at our 13th Annual JOSHUA Banquet this Friday, November 10th. If you have not gotten your tickets yet, fear not, you can get them until the end of the business day today (Monday, November 6th).

    You still need tickets?

    1) Buy them online ( at our online store, and scroll down to events.

    2) Stop into St Matthew Parish Center today, between 8am-4pm to purchase your tickets there.

    If you are not able to attend the JOSHUA 13th Annual Banquet, please consider making a donation. The critical work we do in our local Brown County Community depends heavily on the generosity and shared vision of our supporters. Please consider helping JOSHUA in our continued efforts to keep “doin’ justice” with a fully tax-deductible gift.

    You can donate online today by clicking here.

    Or by sending a check made out to JOSHUA to our office 130 St Matthew Street Green Bay, WI 54301.

    Hope to see you all at the banquet to celebrate another year of JOSHUA  "doin' justice"!

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    Night Out with Joshua at Qdoba

    Come out to break bread, share in community, and support an amazing organization.
    Tuesday December 12th

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    Ban the Box Brown County big WIN!

    Last night, JOSHUA had a BIG WIN in Brown County! With our Prison Reform Task Force leading the efforts!

    "The vote was 20-6. Voting no were Green Bay supervisors Andy Nicholson, Guy Zima, Evans, John S. Vander Leest and Buckley, and Hobart Supervisor Dave Landwehr."
    Click here to view the full article. 

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