Church pushes Gospel-oriented prison laws

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MANILA, April 10, 2013— With more than 95,000 inmates serving time in the country’s prison system, there is a great need for programs that bring hope to people behind bars. 

The prison ministry of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is meeting that need through seminars and the aggressive campaign for restorative justice. 

On April 26, the Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care (ECPPC) is bringing its Seminar-Workshop on Restorative Justice and Alternatives to Imprisonment to Tuguegarao City. 

Rodolfo Diamante, ECPPC executive secretary, said the event is in coordination with the Diocese of San Fernando and will be held at the Parish Pastoral Center of the city’s St. Peter Cathedral. 

It will be attended by government agencies and non-government organizations and volunteers involved in working for the welfare of the prison community and their families in Region 2. 

“The seminars will take up the salient features of Restorative Justice and UN Tokyo Rules or the Non-custodial Treatment of Persons Deprived of their Liberties,” Diamante said. 

“It will also underscore the need to lobby for the enactment of laws that will be in consonance with the Gospel values,” he added. 

Aside from Diamante, other speakers are Msgr. Gerard Ariston Perez of St. Peter Cathedral and Gerard Ian Bernabe, National Coordinator of Volunteers in Prison Service. 

Diamante said they will tackle the issue on the Current Criminal Justice and Restorative Justice and Alternatives to Imprisonment. 

Tuguegarao Archbishop Sergio Utleg is also expected to grace the occasion to give a talk and hold Mass for the participants.   

Similar seminars have also been held in the Archdiocese of San Fernando, Pampanga, and the Dioceses of Bacolod, San Pablo, Baguio, Butuan and Lucena. (CBCPNews)

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