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NYADP’s Executive Director David Kaczynski is the chair of Albany’s Commission on Restorative Justice, and Victim/Survivor Outreach Coordinator Marie Verzulli is an active member.
In 2000 the Commission on Restorative Justice was established to:
- Raise awareness of criminal justice issues that affect individuals and communities throughout the diocese;Raise awareness of Church teaching on these issues;
- Advocate for criminal justice public policies at the federal and state levels;
- Implement the recommendations contained in state and national Pastoral Statements of the U.S. Bishops on criminal justice:
Responsibility, Rehabilitation & Restoration:
A Catholic Perspective On Crime & Criminal Justice
U. S. Catholic Bishops 2000
Restoring All To The Fullness Of Life
New York Catholic Bishops 2000
The Commission on Restorative Justice recognizes that our criminal justice system can often be nothing more than a punitive, blame-placing institution. As a result, it frequently substitutes outdated models of punishment for genuine offender accountability. Often the system fails the person who was directly harmed and does little for the person who offended. In this process, little is done to repair the delicate fabric of community that has been affected by criminal and anti-social events.
The Restorative Justice Commission believes that our communities must implement more lasting, more meaningful and more healing responses to wrongdoing. We also recognize that there are many ways to ameliorate the harsh and unfair conditions of the current criminal justice system. For now, the Commission will focus on transformative education and action.
The Commission seeks to educate about restorative justice in a wide variety of situations and in collaboration with others who share our values. Our primary goal is to educate the people of our 14-county diocese in the techniques of restorative justice. Our secondary goal is to support already existing programs which demonstrate restorative justice in action.
We will assist people in advocating for restorative justice by:
- Advocating for funding for programs that will assist prisoners with re-entry to the community.
Advocating for programs that will enable victims and offenders to gain better
psychological and spiritual health.
- Advocating for programs to improve housing and transitional opportunities for those victimized and parolees.
- Supporting the State Bishops public policy positions on drug sentencing laws and the death penalty.
Speakers & Topics
The Commission includes people who represent a variety of backgrounds: victims of violence, family members of victims, law enforcement officers, lawyers, family members of offenders, clergy, school administrators, educators, social workers.
Members are available to speak to your group on these topics:
- Basic Principles Of Restorative Justice
- Victims of Violence: Advocates for Restorative Justice
- Restorative Practices in New York Jails & Prisons
- Restorative Justice & the Courts: Alternative Sentencing.
- Restorative Practices in Schools
- Restorative Justice & the Death Penalty
Lunch and Learn Series: 12:00 – 1:30 pm at the Pastoral Center, 40 N. Main Ave., Albany
January 14: The Ones Left Behind - Living in the Aftermath of Violence
February 11: Communities that Care – A Model for Social Transformatio
March 11: Re-entry – Social Integration after Incarceration
April 8: SNUG – Community-Based Violence Prevention
May 13: The Veteran’s Journey
Restorative Justice Teaching Day at Sage College: March 26 in the Opalka Gallery