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Crime and justice

Read Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office's letter supporting the bipartisan Smarter Sentencing Act (S.1410).


Mennonites often address criminal justice through a lens of restorative justice, which attempts to heal the wounds that crime inflicts. Restorative justice recognizes that crime violates relationships and that it engages many stakeholders - victim, offender, community and government.



The biblical text has much to say about justice. From the Old Testament to the Sermon on the Mount, the bible is full of passages about prisoners, oppressions, justice and freedom. This reflection seeks to draw out some of these themes as a way of guiding MCC Washington Office's work and rooting it deeply in the biblical tradition.



Through the work of individuals, congregations and victim-offender reconciliation programs (VORPs), Mennonites are associated with the work of restorative justice. Broadly speaking, restorative justice views wrongdoing as a harm done by a person, or a group of people, to another and seeks to address the needs of both victim and offender. On the other hand, retributive justice – the “standard” criminal justice system in the United States and most of the world – views wrongdoing as a crime committed by a person or people against the state and seeks to deal out varying levels of punishment.



Our shared humanity compels us to care about God’s children dying from gun violence on the streets of Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Los Angeles and elsewhere. Churches have begun to say, “it doesn’t have to be this way. We can do something.” Will you help us turn the tide?


MCC is currently in year three of the Fear Not: Seek Peace campaign, a year focusing on U.S. militarism.

Photo credit: Kevin H./Flickr