As Catholics, we need to ask the following: How can we restore our respect for law and life? How can we protect and rebuild communities, confront crime without vengeance, and defend life without taking life?”
– U.S. Bishops, Responsibility, Rehabilitation and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice
What is restorative justice?
Restorative justice is a principled approach to achieving justice that emphasizes living in right-relationship and resonates deeply with Gospel values and Catholic Social Teaching.
A restorative justice approach undergirds opposition to the death penalty, centers the needs of victim-survivors, promotes racial equity, honors indigenous peacemaking tradition and actualizes forgiveness and reconciliation.
– Catholic Mobilizing Network
Catholic Social Teaching
Criminal Justice Reform
Paths of Renewed Encounter
Catholic Mobilizing Network offers Paths of Renewed Encounter, an engagement guide that invites individuals and groups to embrace healing approaches to crime, harm, and injustice while reflecting on the unique ways that Catholic ministries and teachings can shepherd processes that transform relationships, communities and systems. It draws on the experience of a wide array of contributors, the prophetic call of Pope Francis’ encyclical, “Fratelli Tutti,” and the well-known pastoral cycle for social action.
Paths of Renewed Encounter can be an excellent resource for parish ministries, particularly prison or social justice ministries, interested in incorporating restorative approaches into their pastoral work.
As many as 1 in 3 adults in the United States have a criminal record. Millions of Georgians have arrests on their records that never resulted in a conviction or misdemeanors for which a sentence has long been served. These records can prevent many from accessing essential services like housing as well as have an impact on their ability to find employment, serve in the military or adopt children.
Expungement or record restriction can seal these records and free people from the stigma of having a criminal record show up in a background check for employment. We encourage parishes to consider hosting record restriction events to help the people in their pews and broader communities experience a restoration of their rights as citizens. These resources can help introduce you to what is involved in a record restriction event. If you would like to know more, please contact Jayna Hoffacker at email@example.com.
The Faith in Action toolkit is a comprehensive roadmap to planning an expungement event in your community. It provides guidance on how to identify local community partners, develop a timetable, prepare for expenses, plan a marketing and PR effort and ensure that your event runs smoothly.
In addition to this important information, we also encourage individuals seeking record restriction to reach out to Georgia Justice Project, as they can help navigate that process on an individual basis.