The Catholic University of America

Oct. 28, 2015

Conference to Focus on Criminal Justice Reform

In preparation for the Year of Mercy, a yearlong jubilee dedicated to promoting mercy around the world, The Catholic University of America will co-host a day of discussions related to restorative justice on Nov. 6.

“A New Path to Justice Conference: Criminal Justice Reform in the Year of Mercy” will take place from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Caldwell Hall, 620 Michigan Ave., N.E., with a Mass held at 8:30 a.m. in Caldwell Chapel. The conference is co-sponsored by the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies, along with the Catholic Mobilizing Network, Mount St. Mary’s University, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Keynote speakers for the day will include Justice Janine Geske, a former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice and criminal court judge, and a Distinguished Professor of Law at Marquette University Law School; and Margaret Pfeil, an author and theologian from the University of Notre Dame Center for Social Concerns, and a faculty fellow at the Kroc Institute.

Restorative Justice is a community-centered approach to justice which views crime as a violation of people and relationships rather than simply a violation of the law. The restorative justice process focuses on the victim’s needs and the offender’s responsibility to repair harm and foster healing when a crime is committed. Breakout sessions throughout the day will explore the basics of restorative justice, its scriptural foundations, the impact of incarceration on people, and how parishes can respond.

Karen Clifton, executive director of Catholic Mobilizing Network, said this is the third year Catholic University has teamed up with the network to host a conference on criminal justice issues.

“Our criminal justice system is in crisis. Restorative justice is an opportunity to move forward in a positive and faithful way,” Clifton said.

“When Pope Francis visited our country in September he said ‘It is painful when we see prison systems which are not concerned to care for wounds, to soothe pain, to offer new possibilities.’ Momentum is building around criminal justice reform, and this is a very exciting opportunity for Catholics to be part of the campaign that seeks to answer Pope Francis’s call for a more restorative approach to justice.”

For more information or to register for the conference, visit, e-mail, or call 202-319-5999.

MEDIA: To cover this conference, contact Katie Lee or Mary McCarthy-Hines at or 202-319-5600.




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