CPR Statement in Support of Andre de Gruy's Appointment to Serve as the State Public Defender

(July 5, 2016)

 Last week,  Andre de Gruy was appointed the State Public Defender. Mr. de Gruy has spent more than a quarter-century representing people accused of crime -- often times, accused of heinous acts of violence. CPR applauds Mr. de Gruy's dedication to serving the under-served and fighting to ensure equal justice under law is fulfilled. Our thoughts and prayers are with him as he fills this role.

"Remember those in prison as if you were bound with them, and those who are mistreated as if you were suffering with them." Hebrews 13:3. This is the call CPR strives to answer, but related to the call to stand with the oppressed and marginalized and honor their basic human dignity and opportunity for redemption, there are broader values of socioeconomic justice throughout the New Testament. As Christians we are obligated to care for the the poor, and in the U.S., courts are obligated to mete out -- as is etched in stone outside the U.S. Supreme Court -- "Equal Justice Under Law." More than fifty years ago, Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black wrote, “There can be no equal justice where the kind of a trial a man gets depends on the amount of money he has.” The U.S. Constitution requires the poor have access to effective assistance of counsel regardless of their inability to hire a private attorney. This right runs much deeper than compassion or charity. Rather, it is indispensable for a fair and legitimate justice system.

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We must extend the same love, forgiveness, and opportunities for redemption to others as He has done for us. Rehabilitating incarcerated people makes moral and fiscal sense.            Rev. CJ Rhodes, CPR President


“I was in prison and you came to visit me. … I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”                               Matthew  25:36-40


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Clergy for Prison Reform (CPR) is a group of faith leaders in Mississippi who believe our criminal justice system is in desperate need of reform. Our members include faith leaders of different races, denominations and ideologies.

​Many civil and human rights groups have been actively engaged in this work for many years, and now new voices across the political spectrum are calling on America to change the fact that we represent 5% of the world’s population but house 25% of its prisoners. However, we believe it is only through the presence of faith that the conscience of Mississippi will change. This is a debate in which our moral voice matters. CPR will advocate in the power of faith for a more just, righteous and humane criminal justice system. ​
Time is of the essence. We cannot wait. Please join us in this good fight for the least of these.


Clergy for Prison Reform (CPR) is a group of faith leaders in Mississippi who believe our criminal justice system is in desperate need of reform.