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Bearing Witness Report: A Nation in Chains

Bearing Witness Report

A report of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference findings from Nine Statewide Justice Commission Hearings on Mass Incarceration.


Bearing Witness: A Nation in Chains is a report of the Justice Hearing Commissions sponsored by SDPC in nine states. Bearing Witness: A Nation in Chains provides first hand accounts of how mass incarceration is impacting poor people of color, especially African American men, wreaking intergenerational havoc in many families and communities. Bearing Witness: A Nation in Chains documents the perspectives of many practitioners and policy advocates who are responding to the effects of mass incarceration. SDPC has amassed some 69 hours of video and 2,591 pages of transcripted testimony in addition to the report.


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Download a PDF Version of the Report (72pp)

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SDPC Justice Hearings Intro


  • “Faithful. Searing. Powerful. Prophetic. The Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference’s report Bearing Witness: A Nation in Chains is a clarion call to action to dramatically transform the nation’s criminal justice system. It fearlessly challenges our social mores and inspires communities of faith and people of goodwill everywhere to commit to restorative justice and to the rehabilitation of lives devastated by a racialized and inhumane system. May our fierce and collective resolve work to dismantle every systemic chain. Thank you SDPC for this courageous and empowering resource.”

    Alton B. Pollard, III, Ph.D, Dean, Howard University School of Divinity
  • . . .Slavery continues to be alive and well in these United States.”

    Susan Burton, Executive Director, A New Way of Life Re-Entry Project
  • “This devastating indictment of the War on Drugs and Mass Incarceration pulls no punches in either its analysis or its recommendations. Hopefully it will prove a powerful catalyst to reflection and re-action, not just for communities of faith but for also for those who make and enforce the laws of the land.”

  • “In light of Bearing Witness: A Nation in Chains, we are compelled to respond with a boldintentional, ethical and radical assault against mass incarceration by using all viable resources necessary to reduce this advancing annihilation threat against African Americans, people of color, and the poor.”

BEARING WITNESS REPORT: Georgia Hearings (Clip)

Bearing Witness Report: Illinois Hearings (Clip)

Bearing Witness: Michigan Hearings (Clip)

Bearing Witness Report: Ohio Hearings (Clip)

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