about Criminal Justices Issues and to Seek Legislative Means to End
the Death Penalty
WASHINGTON (February 7, 2002) -- The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) today announced the distribution of a second round of grants to support criminal justice reform activities across the nation. A total of $530,500 was awarded to 16 organizations.
The U. S Catholic bishops have allocated $1.5 million to fund local criminal justice reform and education projects. A first round of grants totaling $500,500 was announced in November 2001 and a third round will be announced later this year.
Grants in the second round span the country from the Victims Families for Reconciliation project in Cambridge, Mass., to a student outreach project at the University of Portland, Ore. Many of the projects involve grassroots activities aimed at changing state death penalties, while others focus on educating citizens about the death penalty and providing support to victims of crime and to ex-offenders.
CCHD is one of the nation's largest funders of self-help programs for the poor. "Support for criminal justice issues is a logical extension of our long-term efforts to strike at the root causes of poverty," said Father Robert J. Vitillo, CCHD executive director. "Many victims of crime and those who suffer inequities under our criminal justice system are predominantly poor Americans without a voice."
Father Vitillo noted that this round of grants includes several projects aimed at educating citizens, and especially Catholics, about criminal justice issues. "Although the general concept of social justice is understood by most people, issues of criminal justice and restorative justice for ex-offenders have been harder to understand on an individual level," Father Vitillo said.
Bishop George V. Murry, S.J., bishop of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, and chairman of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development Committee, said that the projects receiving support are rooted in Catholic social teaching, which the U.S. bishops' 2000 message, "Responsibility, Rehabilitation and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice" reaffirms: "Both the most wounded victim and the most callous criminal retain their humanity. All are created in the image of God and possess a dignity, value and worth."
Representative projects funded in round two include:New Jerseyans for a Death Penalty Moratorium, Cape May, N. J.
The organization will work to convince political leaders to enact a moratorium and to conduct a legislative study on the death penalty in New Jersey. They will commission a New Jersey public opinion poll to demonstrate support for a death penalty moratorium.
The Archdiocese of San Francisco, Calif.
The Archdiocese of San Francisco, the Dioceses of Oakland, San Jose, Santa Rosa, and the Sisters of Mercy are collaborating in developing an educational Restorative Justice video to raise awareness among the people of Catholic parishes of Northern California. The half-hour educational video and study guide will provide opportunities for Catholics to ponder the links between the existing criminal justice system and the Catholic bishops' statements.
Team for Justice, Detroit, Mich.
The team will build an interactive web site with three sections focusing on restorative justice: one section for sharing stories; one to enable people to ask questions of experts in law, the penal system, law enforcement, counseling and education; and one for a legislative watch to provide information on current legislation.
Concept papers for the third grant cycle are due March 15 and final applications are due May 1. Grant recipients for the third round will be announced in mid-year.
Established in 1970 by the Catholic bishops of the United States, CCHD is one of the largest private funders of self-help programs initiated and led by poor people in this country. It has supported more than 4,000 community and economic development projects in the U.S. that know no racial or religious boundaries -- projects that create jobs, improve neighborhoods and permanently eliminate poverty and injustice.
Summaries of 2002 Phase Two Criminal Justice Grants
If you would like additional information about the criminal justice grant program, contact Doug Lawson, CCHD Program Director, 202-541-3379 or email@example.com.
Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation, Cambridge, Mass. ($40,000)
Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation (MVFR) is a 25-year-old national organization of people who have lost family members to murder and who oppose the death penalty. The organization will identify and reach out to people who fit the MVFR profile, to train and then offer a diverse group of speakers to spread MVFR's message within communities around the country.
Catholic Community Services, Newark, N.J. ($45,000)
Catholic Community Services, the social service arm of the Archdiocese of Newark, offers a broad continuum of programs and services to the four largest counties of northern New Jersey. Project Reconcile will identify peer advocates (inmates with extended-time goals) who have the proven capabilities to perform required tasks, are emotionally balanced and well adjusted. With training, the peer advocates will help prevent and decrease gang activity and will help prisoners with special needs.
New Jerseyans for a Death Penalty Moratorium, Cape May, N.J. ($21,000)
Founded in 1999 by activists from several New Jersey organizations, the group works to enact a moratorium and legislative study on the death penalty in New Jersey, They will commission a New Jersey public opinion poll to demonstrate support for a death penalty moratorium, organize an outreach effort to build support for the moratorium in at least five major African American and Latino communities and support the legal challenge of the death penalty in the New Jersey Supreme Court.
Team for Justice, Detroit, Mich. ($35,000)
Since 1968, the Team for Justice has challenged the system's treatment of those accused of crime and the conditions of penal facilities, and has championed the cause of restorative justice. The team will build an interactive web site with three sections focusing on restorative justice: one section for sharing stories; one to enable people to ask questions of experts in law, the penal system, law enforcement, counseling and education; and one for a legislative watch to provide information on current legislation.
Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants, Washington, D.C. ($20,000)
Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE) is a national grassroots criminal justice reform organization with approximately 45 state chapters and additional chapters that focus on one particular aspect of the nation's criminal justice. In eight of the 45 state chapters, the grant will provide a library of basic information to understand the corrections system and sponsor attendance at a three-day classroom training session.
1.Florida Catholic Conference, Tallahassee, Fla. ($50,000)
The Florida Catholic Conference will produce a nine-minute, bi-lingual film, "Talking About the Death Penalty," to be available in VHS, CD-ROM, DVD, MVP and audiocassette. The film will educate Catholics on church teachings regarding the death penalty. Floridians will be asked to vote on a constitutional amendment in November 2002 to decide whether or not to add the death penalty as an authorized punishment to capital crime in Florida.
Jacksonville Citizens for a Moratorium, Jacksonville, Fla. ($10,000)
Jacksonville Citizens for a Moratorium was organized in 1999 by the Diocese of St. Augustine, Florida, through its Office of Justice and Peace. The organization will use its grant to educate the voting public on death penalty issues in Florida. The specific goal is to advocate against a proposed Florida constitutional amendment that would strengthen the permissibility and possibility of death as a punishment for capital crime.
Catholic Social Services, Atlanta, Ga. ($43,000)
Justice Educators, a program of Catholic Social Services, Atlanta, consists of a group of ex-offenders and family members of offenders that go through an extensive training program run by other ex-offenders, chaplains, and lay ministers. They will expand training programs so members are ready to facilitate small-group discussions with local faith communities and social justice groups around understanding justice from the eyes of someone who has been through the penal system.
People of Faith Against the Death Penalty, Carrboro, N.C. ($50,000)
Formed in 1994 by the North Carolina Council of Churches and with substantial involvement from Catholic leaders in North Carolina, People of Faith Against the Death Penalty educates and mobilizes faith communities to act to abolish the death penalty in the state. The North Carolina Moratorium Now campaign will work for passage of a moratorium on executions and will support a national moratorium.
Louisiana Catholic Conference of Bishops, New Orleans, La. ($40,000)
The Louisiana Catholic Conference of Bishops is made up of the Archdiocese of New Orleans and the Dioceses of Houma-Thibodaux, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Alexandria and Shreveport. The conference will promote the United States Bishops' statement, "Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration." A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice program will educate Catholics in every parish of every diocese of the state about the issues which restorative justice raises for criminal justice in Louisiana.
Illinois Coalition Against the Death Penalty, Chicago, Ill. ($50,000)
The Illinois Coalition Against the Death Penalty aims to end use of the death penalty in the state. The organization will educate targeted audiences about the injustices in the Illinois death penalty system through public presentations, dissemination of materials and through the world wide web, and will collaborate with the Illinois Catholic Conference, Illinois League of Women Voters, Amnesty International USA, the Justice Coalition of Greater Chicago, Pax Christi DuPage County and Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation.
2.Western Missouri Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, Kansas City, Mo. ($30,000)
The coalition will conduct outreach education to 40 congregations about the death penalty and will recruit two liaison persons per congregation to link with the coalition. They will develop 20 new leaders from family members of death row inmates and of murder victims and others new to abolition efforts, expand outreach to youth and the public, form linkages with groups that serve minority populations, testify at legislative hearings, and meet with state legislators.
Archdiocese of Santa Fe Catholic Detention Organizing Project, Albuquerque, N.M. ($35,000)
The Archdiocese will organize ex-offenders and Catholic parishes to reintegrate ex-offenders into society after incarceration and to educate the Catholic community about restorative justice issues. Goals include advocating with the state correction system for increased rehabilitation services to prepare offenders for their reintegration into society; organizing a community-wide, church-based network to provide a mentoring resource to help ex-offenders in their reentry; and conducting education programs about restorative justice, the death penalty, rehabilitation of offenders, crime victim's rights and community restoration.
Archdiocese of San Francisco, San Francisco, Calif. ($20,000)
The Archdiocese of San Francisco, the Dioceses of Oakland, San Jose, Santa Rosa, and the Sisters of Mercy are collaborating in developing an educational Restorative Justice video to raise awareness among the people of Catholic parishes of Northern California. The half-hour educational video and study guide will provide opportunities for Catholics to ponder the links between the existing criminal justice system and the Catholic bishops' statements. It will encourage practical actions that individuals or parish groups can carry out to assist in making a difference in the lives of victims of crime, prisoners and their families.
University of Portland, Portland, Ore. ($11,500)
The University of Portland will use a portion of the grant to permit 1,000 students and members of the general public to hear Sister Helen Prejean as part of the Oregon Life for a Life campaign.
Additionally, six young adults will participate in a state Catholic Conference lobby day or other advocacy, the university will establish several local and regional collaborative partnerships, eight students will tutor eight inmates per semester on a weekly basis, and eight students will participate in a service-learning project with organizations that address criminal justice reform.
Montana Catholic Conference, Helena, Mont. ($30,000)
Since incorporation in 1969, The Montana Catholic Conference (MCC) has worked legislatively to address criminal justice issues. The grant will provide funding to write a Montana bishop's pastoral letter on the death penalty; to develop parish materials; to develop training materials and train trainers; to develop an advertising video and to purchase television time; and to work in community settings to support and/or begin programs of restorative justice.