On 10 September, charities who work in the diocese including CARJ (Catholic Association for Racial Justice), DePaul UK, The Irish Chaplaincy in Britain (Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas), Pact, Saint Vincent de Paul (SVP) and Women @ the Well met with over 20 Catholic Charities and community projects at the launch of CSAN’s new Criminal Justice Forum.
The forum, which will meet four times a year, aims to bring together Catholics working in the Criminal Justice Sector to enable them to share their experiences and give a stronger and more powerful voice to victims of crime, offenders, prisoners and their families.
At the launch event, a number of organisations spoke powerfully about the work they do to support those within the Criminal Justice system. One of the most moving testimonies came from a former prisoner, who had been assisted by Pact to help transform his life. The keynote address was given by the Rt Rev. Richard Moth, Bishop for Prisons. In his speech Bishop Moth said that we Catholic should “do all we can to put that teaching into practice across our society so that those whose lives have been marked by crime will find the “Place of Redemption.”
Reflecting on the CSAN Criminal Justice Forum in the wake of the justice select committee findings that little progress has been made to reduce the number of women in prisons, Sr Lynda Dearlove, from Women @ the Well said “the CSAN Justice Forum will be an important tool to bring together Catholic practitioners, to strengthen our voice and use our common values to challenge some of the prevalent injustice which is inbuilt in our criminal justice system”.