Volume 33, Number 1 • August 19, 2014

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Diocesan priest engages in Restorative Justice, prison ministry
Posting Date: 09-24-2013
Father Michael Carson

Father Michael
Carson


By Roberta Ward
Father Michael Carson, former pastor of Queen of Apostles Parish, San Jose, is now working full time in Restorative Justice ministry for the Diocese of San Jose. He has been involved in jail ministry for several years along with his previous parish responsibilities.
He describes Restorative Justice as “a broad umbrella” which supports both victims and perpetrators of crimes. “We advocate for both,” he said, especially with prayer vigils for victims and by advocating healing for victims, perpetrators and the whole community. Those are basic principles of Restorative Justice.”
It is not just about prisons and incarceration, Father Carson explained, or just looking at the perpetrator to be punished. “We teach kids how to transform their lives. I tell youth in juvenile hall that God has a plan for them. Some of these kids have institutionalized their brains and we have to help them to get out of that ‘institution.’”
He works with youth mentoring organizations in which young people are brought together in groups through a project at Santa Clara University. “This has been very helpful,” he said. “We have a community partnership with SCU and our diocesan Office for Youth Ministry is part of that.”
He said, “We need more mentors; we provide the training, and we

also work with the SCU Law School. We are also aligned with SCU in anti-death penalty efforts. In fact, this is headquarters in California for this work.”
Father Carson explained that 86 percent of youth in juvenile hall have no father in their lives – they have left the family, died, or are in prison themselves. “It costs $47,000 a year to keep a person in prison for a year in Santa Clara County,” he said.
The Diocese of San Jose has a Justice Board which meets monthly and engages people in discussion with symposiums and mentoring on Restorative Justice themes.
“Restorative Justice works,” Father Carson stressed. “The criminal justice system is about crime and punishment. Restorative Justice is about who has been hurt and how to heal relationships.
“In Restorative Justice, the victim is central and his/her needs are met. Part of that is working to reduce crime, which includes treatment for drug addicts and other addictions, and helping people to deal with personal problems that cause them to make wrong choices.”
Father Carson said, “Restorative Justice views incarceration as a last resort. Many jails are overcrowded and can only provide punishment” -- incarceration only.
He also noted the disproportionate numbers of Hispanic and African-American youths who are incarcerated.

 
- The Valley Catholic

 
 
08-19-2014 - Bishop offers thanks to detention ministry, Restorative Justice volunteers
08-19-2014 - Annual Education Appeal for scholarship assistance set for Sept. 6-7 in parishes
08-19-2014 - Linda Batton honored for service to DSJ
08-19-2014 - Faith Formation Conference set for Nov. 21-22
08-19-2014 - Celebrating Catholic ministry through endowments
08-19-2014 - Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal honorees
08-19-2014 - St. John Vianney School to celebrate 60th anniversary
08-19-2014 - Clergy appointments…. [8-19-14]
08-19-2014 - St. Julie Parish celebrates, looks back on 40 years
Highlights
News - In The Diocese
Annual Education Appeal for scholarship assistance set for Sept. 6-7 in parishes

St. John Vianney School to celebrate 60th anniversary

Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal honorees

News - Community
Serra International convention attracts attendees from U.S., world

Sections - Catholic Schools
Presentation debate team takes national spotlight

Sacred Heart Nativity Schools name new president

Sections - Young Adults
Volunteer youth minister shares Life Teen experience

Sections - Spanish News
La Diócesis de San José invita a rezar por las víctimas de la violencia

News - In The Church
Like good shepherd, Church must seek out, help abused, says survivor

Pope meets sex abuse victims, says clergy actions cloaked in complicity

News - Nation/World
Papal visit to South Korea: Legacy of martyrs, lay leadership lives on

Sections - Immigration/Human Trafficking
Humanitarian border crisis calls for compassion, action

Bishop McGrath calls for compassion, aid for immigrants at state border

Unaccompanied children need community’s help