Actual Justice - Innocence Commission

An Innocence Commission Task Team was formed by the MACUCC Board of Directors in 2009, and confirmed by the MACUCC Annual Meeting in 2010. The concept of a task team to promote a Commonwealth innocence commission was presented to the Massachusetts Conference, UCC,  as early as 2007.

The task team was composed of church members meeting monthly. As we became more aware that innocent persons were being convicted and serving time in Massachusetts, we became dedicated to making changes in the Commonwealth criminal justice system to make it less likely that the wrong person is convicted.

In 2016, we changed our name to the Actual Justice Task Team. This change did not represent any reduced commitment to the problem of innocent convictions, but did represent a change in strategy, and an understanding that the problem of innocent convictions is related to other issues in the criminal justice system. We have developed this mission statement:

We are to speak for those who have no voice; to help those who are unable to
help themselves; to defend those who cannot defend themselves.
We are a task team of the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of
Christ. Our faith compels us to work for a more just criminal justice system. The
Actual Justice Task Team is committed to working against wrongful convictions,
overly harsh sentences, and overzealous prosecutorial action. We are committed
to reducing mass incarceration in Massachusetts. We are committed to raising
awareness of racial disparity in the Massachusetts criminal justice system. We are
committed to protecting those who are incarcerated, on probation or parole, or
accused of crimes, who cannot speak for themselves.
We are committed to accomplish this by working with elected officials, holding
seminars and workshops, and working with others of like minds.
Silence in the face of evil is itself evil  ~ Dietrich Bonhoffer


We are not naive as to the difficulty of moving laws through the legislature. However, we believe that with the support of the members of our churches all over the Commonwealth, and by working in coalition with other like-minded groups, our goals can be achieved.

We would warmly welcome anyone to the task team who believes they would like to be a part of this work. And we need to call on many more of you to contact your representatives in government at an appropriate time. Together, we can create a fairer justice system and therefore a better society. We would love to hear from you.

Grace and Peace, Rev.Jonathan C. Tetherly, Chair, Actual Justice Task Team

Want  more information? Contact Jonathan Tetherly at; or by phone: 413-221-7953 or 413-594-8500.