U.S. Bishop Chairmen Welcome Administration’s Racial Equity - FULL TEXT from USCCB

 U.S. Bishop Chairmen Welcome Administration’s Racial Equity Actions on Housing and Prisons

FEBRUARY 1, 2021

WASHINGTON – Following recent executive actions to promote racial equity in housing and the criminal justice system, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop Shelton J. Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, chairman of the USCCB’s Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, issued the following statement:

“We welcome the Biden Administration’s actions to promote racial equity. Specifically, the executive order directing the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to examine the effect of repealing the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule is a step in the right direction to restoring needed protections against housing discrimination. Repealing this rule minimized the affirmative responsibility of the government to promote fair housing. The federal government has a critical role to play in overcoming and redressing our nation’s history of discrimination, and we hope the administration follows through on the important work of promoting fair housing and human dignity.

“We also welcome the new administration’s announcement that the U.S. Department of Justice will not renew contracts with private prisons. The bishops have long questioned the efficacy of private companies running prisons, and this step is a positive development in criminal justice reform.[1] We encourage the administration to consider similar policies in the future regarding civil immigrant detention facilities.”

The USCCB and Catholic Charities USA filed comments in March 2020 calling for the full implementation of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule. 

[1] See, Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice (2000) (“We bishops question whether private, for-profit corporations can effectively run prisons. The profit motive may lead to reduced efforts to change behaviors, treat substance abuse, and offer skills necessary for reintegration into the community”)