A new video from the California Catholic Conference shows people coming together across the state to address the needs of victims and their families, reduce crime, and provide offenders with an appropriate way to make amends. The actions and programs in the video are based on the principles of restorative justice. During National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 19-25, the video will receive wide distribution.
Restorative justice is a response to crime and violence that shifts the focus from punishment to responsibility, rehabilitation and restoration. It addresses the needs of everyone impacted by crime—victims, offenders, families, communities, and those who work in the criminal justice system. “Restorative justice is really about reaching out to everyone with the merciful love of our God,” says the Most Reverend Richard Garcia, bishop of Monterey and co-chair of the restorative justice committee for the California Catholic Conference.
Nine Catholic dioceses and the CCC have received a two-year, $1 million grant from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) to expand local and statewide restorative justice efforts. Each diocese receives a portion of the grant to address needs identified by people living in their communities. Activities range from support for families of murder victims, to ceasefire walks in at-risk neighborhoods, to victim-offender mediation programs. Concrete change is happening, and the video tells the story.
Events surrounding National Crime Victims’ Rights Week will begin with the Survivors Speak Conference in Sacramento. This event brings together Californians who have survived crime or been impacted by crime in their communities for a day of skills-building, advocacy training, support and action.
For more information about how you can get involved in local restorative justice activities in your diocese, go to www.restorejustice.com/index.php/get-involved.
Watch the video at: www.restorejustice.com