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1974 General Resolution

WHEREAS, the present court and penal systems have failed in their purpose of rehabilitation, have in fact damaged personalities and wholesome human values, and have resulted in a high rate of recidivism; and

WHEREAS, we, who "affirm, defend, and promote the supreme worth of every human personality," wish to give every individual a chance for fulfillment;

BE IT RESOLVED: That the 1974 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association urges and supports a massive reform of the various systems of criminal justice which will include but not be limited to:

  1. Provisions allowing judges the time and resources necessary to make sound decisions without resort to procedural shortcuts which frequently jeopardize both the rights of the accused and the safety of society, these resources to include authority to order, where feasible, compensation to the victim by those directly responsible;
  2. Reducing jail and other prison populations through provisions for community-based correctional programs and other alternatives to incarceration. Until such steps are taken a moratorium on the construction of new jails and prisons should be instituted by local, state, provincial and federal authorities;
  3. Adoption and implementation by all correctional institutions, authorities and planning bodies, of a prisoner's bill of rights for detainees as well as convicted prisoners;
  4. Provision of a full range of mental health services, vocational training, basic education, rehabilitation, effective employment programs and other programs to enhance re-entry into the community for the voluntary participation of any persons under the full or partial control of the "criminal justice system." Non-participation in such programs should not be prejudicial;
  5. Reform of our criminal statutes to decriminalize all so-called "victimless crimes";
  6. Elimination of indeterminate sentences.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That the member churches and fellowships and the members of churches and fellowships concern themselves with these problems in their respective states, provinces and communities and take appropriate action.

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For more information contact socialjustice@uua.org.