A Human Dignity and Faith Perspective on the Eradication of Poverty as one of the main Root Causes of Incarceration in the World

Photo taken by Melvin McCray

14th February 2024, United Nations Headquarters in New York, CSocD62 Side Event organized by Interfaith Prison Partnership and sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Ireland to the United Nations, under the UN’s NGO, International Prison Chaplains Association (IPCA).

The event was entitled “A Human Dignity and Faith Perspective on the Eradication of Poverty as one of the Main Root Causes of Incarceration in the World”.  The focus was on the intersection of poverty and crime.  

Picture taken by Melvin McCray; Robert-McCrie – Professor, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Welcomed by Donal Cronin, Ambassador, Deputy Permanent Representative at the Permanent Mission of Ireland to the UN, and Rev. Jean-Didier Mboyo, Vice-President of IPCA, twelve experts in their fields on four continents joined the hybrid meeting:  Chloe Aquart, Deputy Director of the Restoring Promise program at Vera Institute; Dr. Ronald Day, Senior Vice-President, The Fortune Society, Rita Felton, Health Navigation Specialist, Women’s Prison Association & Home;  Rev. Dr. Ulrica Fritzon, Church of Sweden Reconciliation Group and prison chaplain in Sweden; Aidan King, Director of the Correctional Association of NY; Dr. Seungmug Lee of Texas A&M International University and Dr. Robert McCrie of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, on their research of a church-run prison in Korea; Melvin McCray, a retired network journalist who runs the Digital Media Training Program of The Fortune Society; Peter Olwal, Executive Director of PanAfrica CURE (Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants) in Kenya; Christopher Poulos, Executive Director of the  Center for Justice and Human Dignity; and Cheryl Wilkins, Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Columbia University Center for Justice.  

Each of the speakers spoke from their perspective, to a filled-to-the-maximum audience of professionals in this area, about how so much of crime is rooted in the effects of poverty, and racism, on people and society – little or no access to medical AND mental health care, unsafe neighborhoods, substandard schools/education, poor housing conditions, lack of jobs, the list is long.  Many people who find themselves in the carceral system were failed by society long before they ever committed a crime.  

For more information about the 62nd Commission for Social Development (CSocD62), please visit: https://social.desa.un.org/csocd/62nd.                                  

Source: International Prison Chaplains' Association