Tuesday, February 7, 2023 - 7:30pm
Tuesday, February 21, 2023 - 7:30pm
Tuesday, March 7, 2023 - 7:30pm
Tuesday, March 21, 2023 - 7:30pm

Over the last forty years, the era of mass incarceration has seen the U.S. prison population rise by five hundred percent. There are nearly 2 million people behind bars and statistics show that at least 1 in 4 people who have gone to jail will be arrested again within the same year. Meanwhile underlying issues of poverty, discrimination, mental illness and substance misuse disorders are often left untreated and made worse with incarceration. 

Mass incarceration continues to tear families apart and disproportionately impact communities of color. It perpetuates a system of harm and punishment that does not reduce crime or recidivism. 

MCC and MCUSA partnered in a unique webinar series, Beyond incarceration: A hard look at dismantling the prison system and building healthy communities. Watch the webinar recordings below to learn about the ways the faith community is actively understanding and working against these complex systems of confinement.

The webinars took place on Feb. 7, Feb. 21, March 7, and March 21, 2023, at 7:30pm EST and will be followed by learning tour opportunities in different parts of the U.S. over the course of 2023.

Hear from practitioners and theologians with depth of knowledge, expertise and practical experience on these four themes.

Contact Jes Stoltzfus Buller, MCC U.S. Peace Education Coordinator, for more information at jessicabuller@mcc.org.

Webinar 1: PROCLAIM

Feb. 7 at 7:30 P.M. EST 

How do we develop an historical/systemic understanding of mass incarceration and what is our Christian mandate to respond?

View the first Beyond Incarceration webinar

Presenters included Michelle Clifton-Soderstrom, former director of North Park Theological Seminary School of Restorative Arts (SRA) and founding director of prison education at Lewis University, Vickie Reddy, current director of SRA, and Tony Pizarro, a graduate student of SRA. The conversation was facilitated by Michelle Armster, executive director of MCC Central States in North Newton, Kansas. 

Webinar 2: INTERVENE

Feb. 21 at 7:30 P.M. EST

How do we interrupt and intervene in systems of mass incarceration?

View the second Beyond Incarceration webinar

Speakers included Teiahsha Bankhead, executive director of Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth, and Hassan A. Latif, founder of Second Chance Center. The conversation was facilitated by Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz, denominational minister for Peace and Justice for Mennonite Church USA (MC USA).

Teiahsha Bankard headshot Teiahsha Bankhead, Ph.D., Executive Director of Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY), is a social justice activist, a restorative justice advocate, a licensed psychotherapist and a professor of social work with both MSW and Ph.D. degrees in social welfare from the University of California at Berkeley. Born to a Black radical mother during the uprising of the Watts Rebellion and coming of age in South Central Los Angeles during the embittered racial relations and social unrest of the civil rights era ignited within Dr. Bankhead a passionate commitment to social justice advocacy and transformative community empowerment.

Dr. Bankhead has a commitment to racial justice, racial healing and restorative economics. She has taught graduate level racial, gender and sexual orientation diversity, theory of criminal behavior and research methods. She is co-author, with University of California Berkeley, Professor Emeritus Jewelle Taylor-Gibbs, of Preserving Privilege: California Politics, Propositions and People of Color.

Hassan A. Latif, founded Second Chance Center (2012), a community re-entry agency dedicated to the successful transition of people returning from incarceration. SCC has grown to become the preeminent reentry agency in Colorado, maintaining a recidivism rate of under 9 % for participants involved in SCC programs. He conducts mentoring and reentry training for government and non-profit service providers nationally, facilitates transition planning sessions in Colorado Department of Corrections facilities statewide, and authored the book “Never Going Back: 7 Steps to Staying Out of Prison” (PAPatterson Press 2012) along with the curriculum.

Hassan serves on the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition’s (CCJRC) Board of Directors. Likewise, he holds a seat on the Colorado Commission on Juvenile Justice (CCJJ) Reentry Reform and Mental Health Disorders in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Systems Task Forces and is the Colorado Association of Addictions Professionals 2018 “Excellence in Leadership” award recipient. In November 2019 Gov. Polis appointed him to the Executive Clemency Advisory Board.

The conversation was facilitated by Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz

Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz headshot Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz serves as denominational minister for Peace and Justice for Mennonite Church USA (MC USA). She works to resource conference ministers, conferences and pastors with opportunities to strengthen capacity and engagement in Christ-centered peace and justice, as well as serves as a liaison and coordinator for peacebuilding initiatives throughout MC USA. Stutzman Amstutz graduated from Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Virginia, with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work. She earned her master’s in Social Work from Marywood University, Scranton, Pennsylvania. Stutzman Amstutz was the coordinator of Mennonite Central Committee’s Restorative Justice program for over 25 years and has co-authored “The Little Book of Restorative Discipline for Schools” and “What Will Happen to Me?” She most recently served as the foster care supervisor for COBYS Family Services, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She attends Blossom Hill Mennonite Church, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Webinar 3: CREATE

March 7 at 7:30 P.M. EST

How do we imagine and bring about alternative systems?

View the third Beyond Incarceration webinar

Speakers included Olivia Chase, transformative/restorative justice practitioner, Colette Payne, director of the Women's Justice Institute Reclamation Project, and Cesare Robinson, Assistant Director of Intervention (Bronx Office) with Common Justice. The conversation was facilitated by Daryle Brown, founding board member of Nehemiah Trinity Rising.

Olivia Chase headshot Olivia Chase is a transformative/restorative justice practitioner and trainer experienced in the design and facilitation of skills transfer in restorative justice philosophy and praxis.  Olivia specializes in family reunification conferencing and peace circles with system-impacted individuals and families, as well as culture and climate programming with faith-based and community-rooted entities.

Colette Payne headshot

Colette Payne is an organizer, leader, student, mother, and grandmother. Her passion is to educate families to build healthier communities. In 2020, she was appointed to serve as the first Director of the Women’s Justice Institute (WJI) Reclamation Project, the first initiative of its kind in Illinois to be led by-and-for system-impacted women. In this role, she is leading the launch of an innovative Reclamation Center in the Pilsen Arts Corridor that will serve as the Reclamation Project’s home for arts and advocacy, mutual support, healing and connection, community building and leadership development among women with lived experience. 

In 2015 Colette joined the WJI’s historic delegation to conduct a Gender Informed Practices Assessment (GIPA) of Logan Correctional Center, the largest and most complex prison in Illinois, and becoming the first formerly incarcerated woman to serve in this role in the entire United States. Colette has appeared on television and spoken at conferences, churches, and universities, and provides expert testimony before legislative committees. She has received several awards for her leadership, including Claim’s JoAnn Archibald award (2013), the Jane Adams Center for Social Policy and Research Community Leadership Award (2015), Safer Foundation’s Carre Visionary Award (2018) and the Chicago Foundation for Women (CFW) 2020 Impact award for her dedication to improving the lives of women and girls in the Chicago area. 

Cesare Robinson headshot Cesare Robinson is the Assistant Director of Intervention (Bronx Office) with Common Justice. Before joining Common Justice, she was a program director at the Youth Shelter Program of Westchester, a residential alternative to incarceration program for young men. During this time, Cesare had the opportunity to interface with all the young men who chose to participate in the program, which provided year-round schooling, cultural/community immersion, as well as family reunification. Cesare completed her Master of Social Work and LMSW exam during this time. Cesare was born and raised in New York City, however, she briefly left to complete her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Virginia State University. Immediately after the completion of her degree, Cesare began to work in the social service field where she immediately realized the service disparities and the representation of people of color in all the systems that she interfaced with. This work was the beginning of her trajectory as a change agent and advocate for those who are underrepresented.

The conversation will be facilitated by Daryle Brown.

Daryle Brown headshot Daryle Brown, MDiv, is a Restorative Justice practitioner and a founding board member of Nehemiah Trinity Rising, a restorative justice practice. He has been an active member of Trinity United Church of Christ's Prison Ministry for the past 23 years and during that time formed The Next Movement, an interfaith committee to "evangelize, organize and strategize" around the issue of ending mass incarceration in America. One of the projects of The Next Movement, was the (In)Justice for All Film Festival, where he served as festival director from 2014 to 2021. In 2011, Daryle joined the staff of Trinity United Church of Christ as the Exec. Director, Multimedia and Communications, responsible for their Akiba Book Store, print shop, marketing and media relations efforts, social media, as well as all sanctuary technology and broadcasts of services. In January of  2022, Daryle transitioned to the position of Director of Social Justice (and IT) at Trinity UCC. Daryle is in his sixth year as a member of the Community Renewal Society, and currently serves as the board chair. He also serves as the servant leader for the Justice and Witness Ministry of the Chicago Metropolitan Association of the Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ. In May 2022, he graduated from McCormick Theological Seminary with his Master of Divinity and has plans to research and write about the intersections between restorative justice, indigenous concepts of justice, and biblical justice constructs. 

Webinar 4: PRACTICE

March 21 at 7:30 P.M. EST

What does proclaiming, intervening and creating alternative systems to mass incarceration look like in practice?

View the fourth Beyond Incarceration webinar

Speakers included Keisha Acton, co-director and lead organizer of Black Lives Matter Phoenix Metro, Marquetta Atkins-Woods, founder and executive director of Destination Innovation Inc, and Rev. Dr. Lori (Dr. Lo) Banfield, executive director of Redemption Housing. The conversation was facilitated by Fran Derry, restorative justice advocate for MCC East Coast.

Keisha Acton is a Black queer femme organizer who since living in Arizona has been directly impacted by racism and the carceral systems that exist here in Phoenix. These experiences have shaped Keisha's analysis and have become the driving force behind the work they do as a social justice organizer, direct action activist and abolitionist. Keisha has been organizing with Black Lives Matter Phoenix Metro (BLMPM) since July 2020, and is currently the co-director and lead organizer. They have lead BLM's security and been an integral part of building out the strategy and security infrastructure with the We Keep Us Safe Initiative along with Tempe’s Alternative to Police Pilot Project.

Marquetta Atkins-Woods, Founder and Executive Director of Destination Innovation Inc,  is a community educator who brings her passion for working with youth and her creative energy to the table as a facilitator. For years she has dedicated herself to ensuring that young people are equipped with the tools for a better future.

Marquetta’s passion for youth development is rooted in her conviction that youth are the change-makers we need for the transformation of our communities, both today and in the future. In 2015, she founded Camp Destination Innovation to expose young people to a variety of career options; encouraging them to create their own future. In April of 2021, Marquetta merged youth programs that she helped to create/lead into one hub of youth leadership development under Destination Innovation Inc, which is now home to Camp Destination Innovation, Progeny, a program for youth either touched by or passionate about the juvenile justice system, and Root the Power. Root the Power is a youth-led civic engagement program that motivates young people and adults alike to be empowered in their vote and have the critical conversations that connect the public to people in office to understand how our government system works. Striving to eliminate the barriers facing young people and women as entrepreneurs, Marquetta created Women Entrepreneurs of Kansas (WeKan!), an initiative to support the growth and power of women entrepreneurs. 

Her awards include winning Non-Profit Award of Distinction Heartland Black Chamber, Best in Innovation by the Wichita Business Journal, Ron Walters Leadership Award by the Wichita branch NAACP and Civic Engagement Award from Wichita Urban Professionals, Shift, Pivot. Thrive from Community Voice, and Women Who Lead in Diversity & Inclusion from the Wichita Business Journal. She was born and raised in Wichita, KS and graduated with a degree in Communications from Wichita State University. Her persistence in reaching her educational goals equipped her to be a mentor for high school youth in Wichita, including her own children, Devon and Aimani. She is married to Darryl. 

Rev. Dr. Lori (Dr. Lo) Banfield is a native and resident of Philadelphia, PA with multidisciplinary expertise in psychology, social justice and practical theology. She serves as a higher learning educator, clinician, researcher, clergy person, and all-around social justice advocate. Dr. Lo has dedicated her life to fostering spiritual resilience and liberation paths to oppressed and suppressed groups. She is the executive director of the Philly-based non-profit Redemption Housing and founder of the Spiritual Resilience Council, a training initiative under Lori Banfield Ministries, LLC. She is also the author of the spiritual formation book Walking Worthy of My Calling: Journey Back to the Likeness of God, among other articles and publications. A wife and mother of two children, Dr. Lo endeavors to build atmosphere changers and restore sacred space within and beyond church, school, and prison walls.


Francelia Derry (Fran) is a native of Philadelphia and resident of Drexel Hill, PA. She has vowed to remain true to Psalm 34:14 no matter the cost: to turn from the evils of racism and oppression and seek to serve and uplift the marginalized and disenfranchised through the practice of restorative justice. As the restorative justice advocate for MCC East Coast, she collaborates with community partners, local churches, and stakeholders to provide supportive services to those impacted by mass incarceration. Her education includes a Bachelor of Science degree from Penn State University, a Master of Divinity from Palmer Seminary (formerly Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary) and she is currently a Doctoral Candidate at the United Lutheran Seminary (formerly Lutheran Seminary). In her role as Adjunct Professor at Lancaster Bible College, she works diligently to help students recognize the connection between learning and ministry. Fran is a passionate teacher who has served in ministry at the Word Formed Church for 15 years in Drexel Hill, PA. Fran is a Transformational Leader & Ordained Minister with over three decades of experience is social services and education. She has two daughters and two grandsons.

Banner photo at top of page by Liz Vo on Unsplash