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Prison Reform Task Force Notes

by | Sep 1, 2022 | MEETING MINUTES, Prison Reform/Death Penalty Task Force

August 24, 2022 at 1 pm

In attendance: Paul Bullis, Jim Ek, Patty Ek, Billie Fidlin, Bethany Lambrecht, Rae Lathrop

Next meeting: Wed., Sept 28 at 1 pm. Zoom info will be sent prior.

Paul opened the meeting in prayer.

Rae Lathrop (Las Vegas) joined our team. She introduced herself. We are glad to have a member from Nevada.

We discussed Issues and updates:

  • The 5-session study, based on Sr PreJean’s videos (and her live session with us). The links to the video can be found on YouTube and on the conference website, under “DSC Prison Reform Sub-Committee PreJean Series.” See https://dscumc.org/prison-reform. Follow the links under “Questioning the Death Penalty” to the videos.
  • We need to devise a marketing campaign on how local congregations or groups can best use the series. Paul will write an article to be used for this purpose.
  • We are also considering a book study on River of Fire by Sr. Helen. Several members of our sub-committee have read or are currently reading the book. (Also needs marketing.)
  • We will change the name of our sub-committee to “Prison Reform and Death Penalty.”
  • Executions in Arizona

The following info is from the New Times article, dated August 25th. (The day after our meeting, but this is helpful info for our sub-committee.)

This spring, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich resumed executions in Arizona after nearly eight years. So far, two longtime death row prisoners — Clarence Dixon and Frank Atwood — have been put to death by lethal injection.

The next to face the death penalty, the attorney general’s office revealed in July, is likely Murray Hooper, one of three convicted killers in a murder-for-hire case that took place in 1980. At 76, Hooper is the only one of the three who is still alive.

On Wednesday, Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Brutinel ruled that Brnovich can move forward and file a warrant for Hooper’s execution, which Hooper’s attorneys had attempted to delay.

Now, the court battles begin. Over the next two months, as Brnovich’s office moves through the proceedings to complete the execution, attorneys for Hooper will challenge the execution. If a judge ultimately grants the warrant, and it holds up to appeals by Hooper’s attorneys, his execution date will likely be set for November.

We will be tracking the prison labor situation including related legislation. Here is a link to the article that was published:

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-investigations/2022/08/11/arizona-lawmakers-advocates-press-for-change-after-republic-investigation-of-prison-labor/10273055002/

We are also tracking compassionate release legislation, for which there is some interest in Arizona, and prison healthcare.

We would like to know how many school-age children in Arizona currently have one or more parents who are incarcerated.

We would be interested to take another death row tour, and/or tours of Perryville or Lewis prisons. Billie will look into this for us.

The meeting was closed with prayer by Bethany.

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About the author

Paul Bullis

Paul is the Desert Southwest Conference Chair of the Prison/Death Penalty Reform Task Force, a subgroup of the Desert Southwest Conference Board of Church & Society.

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