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Resolution On Prison Reform

WHEREAS, A need for radical reform in American prison systems is demonstrated in over-crowded, unsanitary, and destructive conditions, and

WHEREAS, In many prison systems punishment prevails rather than redemptive rehabilitation, and

WHEREAS, The indiscriminate detention of prisoners together continues regardless of the nature of their offense, their age, or the likelihood of their restoration to society, and

WHEREAS, Few if any state departments of corrections have been provided the funds needed to pay adequate salaries to prison officers and to hire an adequate number of case workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists,

Therefore, be it RESOLVED, That this Convention call upon Southern Baptists to follow the teaching of Jesus by caring for those in prison by working to provide funding, education, ministries, and other innovative programs, and expanded parole alternatives necessary to make prisons more honestly correctional, and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we urge Southern Baptists to work with community leaders and elected officials for more humane and more Christian treatment of offenders, and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we call upon prison officials in federal, state, and local systems to maximize education and vocational training in their rehabilitative efforts.


WHEREAS, Crowded civil and criminal trial dockets are resulting in increasing delays before trial; and

WHEREAS, Long delays infringe upon the basic constitutional right to a speedy trial; and

WHEREAS, The pressure on the courts caused by the present case overload makes the attaining of true justice more difficult; and

WHEREAS, Many crimes are committed by persons out on bail and awaiting trial for other offenses; and

WHEREAS, The delay, in trials decreases the deterrent effect of punishment;

Therefore, be it RESOLVED, By the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention in session at St. Louis, Missouri, that we commend the efforts by the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court to develop more efficient courtroom administration and procedure.

Be it further RESOLVED, That we commend the efforts of the American Bar Association and the state bar associations for their continuing work in forwarding judicial reform.