Catholic Social teaching offers direction as well as measures for the Catholic Community’s response to crime and criminal justice.
- We participate with West Virginia Catholic Conference, and other diocesan offices in supporting public policies that reflect restorative justice, within the Criminal Justice System.
- We collaborate with the local Bishop and diocesan leaders to address issues and policies that destroy the dignity and hope of inmates.
- We share USCC statement Responsibility, Rehabilitation and Restoration with volunteers and criminal justice administrators.
- We address issues and policies that dehumanize, demoralize and depersonalize inmates.
- We bring awareness to local Catholic leaders through various articles and events so parishioners can learn how the local Catholic parish can address pastoral concerns of those incarcerated and their families.
SACREDNESS OF LIFE
All people are created in the likeness and image of God. This sacredness of life compels us to stand with all persons without distinction.
- With Christ, we stand on the side of the poor without judgment or discrimination.
- In light of Gospel values, we evaluate the effectiveness of institutional policies and their impact upon the incarcerated.
- We are united with the stand of the U.S. Catholic Bishops regarding respect of life, and the need to abolish the death penalty.
- We resist all public policy pertaining to the adultification of youth, restrictions of family visits, and longer mandatory sentencing.
- We support alternatives to incarceration that is consistent with Gospel values.
APPLYING HUMAN DIGNITY TO ALL
- We confront any and all behavior that is disrespectful and demeaning.
- We do not stereotype inmates or correctional officers, nor do we side with one against another.
- We do not show favoritism to particular individuals.
HUMAN ISOLATION OF INMATES
Human isolation that confines, separates, or demoralizes inmates is of special concern for pastoral ministers, who are called to reconcile and heal.
- We make every effort to personally initiate visits to administrative segregation units, Security Housing Units.
- The Sacramental life of inmates in solitary confinement is assured so Communion and reconciliation are available.
- We are always ready to give assistance to each person on his or her sacred journey.
- We establish and maintain a chapel library, which includes spiritual books, magazines, and the Catholic Spirit newspaper. Bibles, Rosaries, and other devotional are also available to inmates.
- We celebrate major Holy Days up-holding our Catholic Tradition, with special emphasis on Advent and Christmas, Lent and the Easter Season.
- We support well-respected non-denominational programs, such as Kairos Yoke Fellowship, and Wings.