The Jesuit Restorative Justice Initiative (JRJI) strives to encourage incarcerated young and adult men and women, their families, and living victims and their families to pursue education as a recourse that will help them advance in their healing process and restore them to society.
We see EDUCATION as a tridimensional component of the apostolate we are developing in detention institutions. All dimensions are fully intertwined.
FIRST DIMENSION: THE INCARCERATED
Education is a key part of the spiritual retreats held on a monthly basis at state prisons and juvenile halls in California and other states. During all-day or half-a-day spiritual retreats, participants learn about themselves and their relationship with their loved ones and people in their surroundings through an increased knowledge of the Gospel.
Young men and women are introduced and gradually go deeper into Gospel-based meditations following the tradition of Ignatian contemplation created by Saint Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus using Rev. Michael Kennedy’s Jesus the Risen Prisoner: An invitation to freedom (2008). This book offers meditations that invite us to experience Jesus who was condemned as a prisoner, suffered a torturous death on a cross, and became a risen prisoner. With Jesus’ rising, the communities we serve find strength through the difficult roads in life and restore hope where it is lost.
JRJI retreatants learn to express through writing their deeper needs and wounds, and to share these with their peers, giving way to healing that shows in taking responsibility of their past and present acts and moving forward towards a productive life that starts in prison by participating in other education programs. Their fellowship leads to the creation of healing communities within walls.
SECOND DIMENSION: FAMILIES
Guided through Gospel-based meditation, parents and other family members of the incarcerated and of victims learn about the root causes that led to the unfortunate circumstances faced and lived by their loved ones in juvenile halls and prisons.
In loving unity, the families grow in the assurance they are loved by a God who unconditionally accompanies them through their grief and leads them to a richer and joyful life, which turns them into more productive members of society. The visits of comprehensive and loving parents and relatives, or significant others ignites the spiritual and emotional maturity of the incarcerated.
THIRD DIMENSION: GENERAL PUBLIC
In an effort to educate the general public or walk them through the knowledge of the work done by state lawmakers in offering a second chance to the incarcerated, JRJI members actively participate in spreading the word about the different bills being discussed in Sacramento as well as the approved laws.
Formerly incarcerated youth and adults partner with JRJI to offer their testimonies in different environments, faith-based or not, elevating the public’s knowledge and interest about the prison system and how to contribute in restoring justice to those who tired of being victimized.
JESUIT RESTORATIVE JUSTICE INITIATIVE 8501 Washington Blvd. Culver City, CA 90232 (310) 559-0777 • firstname.lastname@example.org