By Georgianna Reilly, LMSW
SJS Staff Writer
Can you be banned from social justice work due to past actions and your arrest record? According to the case of Tim DeChristopher, climate activist from Utah who was fined and jailed after posing as a bidder in a high stakes public land auction you certainly can. After serving 15 months in prison of a two year term DeChristopher is now spending time in a half way house, where he needs to find a job but was denied work at at Unitarian Church by the justice system because he would be working with in the field of social justice (the exact field that got him jailed in the first place). You can read up further on DeChristopher in this interview with him.
I understand the idea behind this move by the justice system, after all you wouldn’t want a drug addict being with in proximity of drugs after their release, but the concept of denying someone the ability to help others seems appalling to me. While DeChristopher isn’t a social worker this seems to be to be an example of why many social workers might avoid social action. As social workers our code discusses that we are supposed to stand up for the rights of others and for social justice in every way possible yet if the possibility of being jailed, fined, or banned from doing so exists is can certainly cause some hesitation from doing so. What do you think?
Our authors want to hear from you! Click to leave a comment