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Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Spirituality: U.S. Catholic Bishops

An increasingly widespread and positive development in many communities is often referred to as restorative justice. Restorative justice focuses first on the victim and the community harmed by the crime, rather than on the dominant state-against-the-perpetrator model. This shift in focus affirms the hurt and loss of the victim, as well as the harm and fear of the community, and insists that offenders come to grips with the consequences of their actions. These approaches are not "soft on crime" because they specifically call the offender to face victims and the communities. This experience offers victims a much greater sense of peace and accountability. Offenders who are willing to face the human consequences of their actions are more ready to accept responsibility, make reparations, and rebuild their lives.

Restorative justice also reflects our values and tradition. Our faith calls us to hold people accountable, to forgive, and to heal. Focusing primarily on the legal infraction without a recognition of the human damage does not advance our values.

U.S. Catholic Bishops in Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice (2000)

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