In a revealing interview the conservative head of public policy at Justice Fellowship, Craig DeRoche, opened up to Salon about how some members of the religious right came to view criminal justice reform as a priority in their political platform. Justice Fellowship is the advocacy arm of Prison Fellowship Ministries, founded by Charles Colson, one of those who served prison time for involvement in the Nixon-era Watergate scandal.
DeRoche candidly told Salon that it was tax increases, not compassion or a move to promote justice, that originally got many conservative Christians to start examining their decades-long “tough-on-crime” policies. He also freely admitted that opposition to criminal justice reform comes mostly from those who work for the government in prosecution, law enforcement and corrections.
DeRoche was forthcoming in saying that he doesn’t believe the government should fund prison faith-based programs, and that any correctional facility that allows a sentence reduction or any other perk for those that participate in Christian programs while incarcerated is wrong.
Josh Eidelson, who interviewed DeRoche for Salon, asked tough questions on topics ranging from the legalization of marijuana to whether the Justice Fellowship promotes anti-gay programming via Prison Fellowship Ministries in prisons, and DeRoche didn’t shy away from answering any of them.