Restorative Justice

Repeatedly, Jesus confronted the human desire for revenge and punishment, turning his listeners instead in the direction of genuine correction, mercy, and a new life.

The churches active in the Council have agreed to pursue this direction, and we call it “restorative justice” in a policy statement available on this site.

There are many ways Christians can pursue restorative justice, from working to help victims of crimes restore their lives to visiting people in prison and helping them build new lives, and much more.

In recent years several approaches have been given the greatest focus by the Kentucky Council of Churches – the struggle to end the use of the death penalty, and efforts to invest in new lives for people who have completed their prison sentences so that they will not return to jail.

End the death penalty:

Our goal is the end of all state executions. The Christian call to restorative justice and to honoring the image of God in every human life is sufficient reason. It is reinforced by the tragic failure of the justice system to avoid putting innocent persons on death row or to give an equal chance to every accused person regardless of economic means or race.

A partner in this work is the Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, This is also one of many areas where we work closely with the Catholic Conference of Kentucky.

You can help. Plan a vigil worship service and a letter to the governor for clemency, for the next time an execution is scheduled. Study this topic so you are prepared if asked for additional involvement. Pray for an end to executions.

Restore voting rights and pave the way to employment:

Links under our "Advocacy" menu will lead you to our campaigns about legislation that would alleviate some of the stigma and difficulty people face when trying to re-enter society after completing a sentence. Kentucky is one of only a few states that still make former felons who want to vote go through an application process run differently by different state governors. And often it is hard to even get an interview, much less a job, when the first thing known about a job candidate is the criminal record no matter how long ago a sentence was completed. The Council supports "expungement" legislation to address this issue. 

On Wednesdays during legislative sessions, The Rev. Anthony Everett gathers people to pray for restoration of voting rights to be made automatic after sentences are completed: