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RJI’s Reflects on Pope Francis’ Call for Restorative Justice (February 4, 2020)

News Release: February 4, 2020 3:00pm Pacific
Contact: Lisa Rea, President
RJI’s response to Pope Francis’ address to the World Congress of the International Association of Penal Law: November 15, 2019–Vatican City
Restorative Justice International (RJI) shares the following speech delivered by Pope Francis on November 15, 2019 before the World Congress of the International Association of Penal Law.
RJI is a leading association, network and global voice advocating for victims-driven restorative justice for our justice systems. RJI’s affiliates and Global Advisory Council represent respected experts and practitioners in the field of restorative justice including those who advocate for criminal justice reform and human rights.
RJI shares this speech since we have vigorously urged the use of restorative justice processes in the United States and globally in cases of clergy sexual abuse, including within the Catholic Church, since our formation in 2008 and previously through the work of The Justice & Reconciliation Project (JRP) from 2001-2008.
The extended comments by Pope Francis, a recognized world leader, are important for a number of reasons. RJI is encouraged by many of the points made including the following:

  1. Support for “restorative (criminal) justice” as a model of justice based on dialogue in an effort to bring justice to the victims. Concern for those held in detention without proof of guilt.
  2. Protection of the environment and a need to respond to “eco-cide.” Responding to corporate behavior when environmental harm occurs.
  3. A call to responsibility by those tasked to administer and implement justice.
  4. Responding to an increased culture of hatred and rise of Nazism globally.
  5. Acknowledging and responding to corruption and authoritarian governments.
  6. Respect for the law and the rule of law.

RJI is committed to working with the Catholic Church globally to expand the use of restorative justice processes to reform the criminal justice system. Through victims-driven restorative justice offenders are held accountable for their actions in ways that transform behavior and provides victims of crime a path for restoration and healing. When forgiveness and reconciliation is possible it is more likely through the use of restorative justice and its integration into our laws.
Pope Francis’ words encourage nations to consider systemic reforms in our criminal justice systems and provides the vision for the use of restorative justice in the macro and the micro in our world.

Pope Francis’ speech: November 15, 2019

Photo by Ashwin Vaswani on Unsplash