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The Methodist Church of Great Britain | Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice

Churches Criminal Justice Forum

CCJF – the Churches Criminal Justice Forum – is an ecumenical network which focuses on issues relating to the criminal justice system.

CCJF shares information and news about criminal justice, and aims to enable local congregations to better understand and engage with the issues in informed and practical ways. It also encourages measures to counter social exclusion and to support agencies working with ex-offenders. CCJF acts as a resource for the churches when they approach Government with concerns or calls for reform.

More information can be found at the Churches Criminal Justice Forum website.

Prisons Sunday

Prisons Sunday is a regular feature in the Methodist Church calendar. This year it falls on 16 November.

Information and worship resources are available at Prisons Sunday.

Prisons Week runs from 15-21 November 2009.

Prison Chaplaincy

Free Churches, including the Methodist Church, Baptist Union of Great Britain, United Reformed Church and Salvation Army, work together in providing chaplaincy services in prisons.

There are around 180 Free Church Chaplains, working alongside Anglican and Roman Catholic colleagues, as well as representatives from other faiths.

Prison chaplains offer pastoral care to staff as well as prisoners. Chaplains try to visit new prisoners within 24 hours of them arriving, and are there for all in need – particularly those who are bereaved, vulnerable or suffering from distress.

Chaplains also lead worship, providing an opportunity for people to be lifted above their circumstances into a liberating world of faith and love. Discipleship courses and Bible study groups can also be a way to reach out and nurture faith amongst prisoners.

Voting Rights for Prisoners

Prisoners do not have the right to vote in UK elections. In 2005 the European Court of Human Rights judged that this contravenes the European Convention on Human Rights. In 2007 the Government put out a consultation on possible changes.

The Methodist Church argued that voting is a human right, rather than a privilege, and should not be denied to prisoners. You can read the the joint response to the consultation on voting rights for prisoners from the Methodist Church, Baptist Union of Great Britain and the United Reformed Church.

Capital Punishment

The Methodist Church supported the campaign to abolish the death penalty in Britain throughout the 1950s and 1960s. The last hanging in Britain was in August 1964, and the Murder (Abolition of the Death Penalty) Act was passed in November 1965.

During the 1980s and 1990s the Methodist Church opposed moves to reintroduce the death penalty.

Membership of the European Union and Britain’s obligations under Protocol 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights means that it would be very hard to reintroduce capital punishment in the UK. Opinion polls suggest that the majority would support the return of the death penalty for certain crimes – such as serial killing, child killing or murdering a police officer – but support for the death penalty has fallen over recent years.

Links

Churches Criminal Justice Forum

Prisons Sunday

Prisons Week

Downloads

Response to Government Consultation on Voting Rights for Prisoners from the Methodist Church, Baptist Union of Great Britain and the United Reformed Church.