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NZ Catholic Bishops call for reconciliation, not revenge, in prisons

July 25, 2009

Our respect for human dignity means that every person has a right to
feel safe in the community. But this same respect for human dignity
also means that every prisoner has a right to safety. The basis of our
society’s right to punish those who abuse the human rights of others,
is also the basis of our society’s responsibility to protect the human
rights of offenders.

Many New Zealanders have found opportunities for repentance and
forgiveness through restorative justice processes, such as Family Group
Conferences. Our experience is that requiring offenders to face up to
the consequences of their crimes, and giving victims an opportunity to
express their hurt, can be a turning point for both parties.
Restorative justice needs good facilitators who understand that
reconciliation is the goal of restorative justice, and it is not simply
another way of sentencing offenders. New Zealand has led the world in
incorporating restorative justice processes into our justice system,
and we need to continue to support this work for everyone involved.

Read the whole statement.


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