Chris Phillis has represented youth and families in juvenile court for 30 years. She is an advocate in and out of the courtroom, working on legislation and serving on state committees and as a co-director for the Southwest Region of the Gault Center, formerly the National Juvenile Defender Center (a national organization of youthful defenders). Chris was the Chair for the Delinquency Sub Committee of the Task Force on the Arizona Rules of Procedure for the Juvenile Court.
What does criminal justice reform have to do with separation of church and state?
Given the massive racial disparities of incarcerated populations, you’re likely already aware that the carceral reach of the state — and today’s proliferation of for-profit prisons — can be traced back to slavery and racist Jim Crow policies. But the connections between white supremacy, the prison industrial complex, and religion aren’t always as clear, though religious influence on the current criminal justice system stems back to Christian ideas about punishment and penitence, and ecclesiastic justice . In this series, we’ll explore the common threads that weave these issues together.