Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Many Prisoners on Death Row are Wrongfully Convicted

Scientific American magazine reports that researchers estimate that more than 340 U.S. inmates that could have been exonerated were sentenced to death since 1973. According to the magazine:
. . . a team of researchers has concluded that about 4.1 percent of criminal defendants who are sentenced to death are falsely convicted. The approach allows researchers to “actually come up with a valid estimate of the rate of false convictions—knowing something that people say [in criminal justice] is not knowable,” says study author Samuel Gross, a law professor at the University of Michigan Law School and editor of the National Registry of Exonerations, a U.S.-focused exoneration database. What makes the analysis possible is that data on the potential need for exoneration from death penalty cases come to light more often than it does for other types of criminal proceedings. All death sentences in the U.S. are based on crimes that include homicide.
You can read more here.

This is just one of the reasons why the Catholic Church opposes the death penalty. You can more here.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Justice newsletter

The Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development (JPHD) of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops promotes awareness of Catholic social teaching and opportunities to live the Baptismal call to love God and neighbor. You can sign up for their monthly newsletter here.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

In solidarity

Bishop Richard E. Pates, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace,  and Dr. Carolyn Woo, President and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, recently wrote to Congress to urge appropriate funding of the poverty-focused and humanitarian accounts in the fiscal year 2015 appropriations. From their letter:
Based on advice from our partners and CRS staff on the ground, we are deeply concerned about humanitarian funding. International Disaster Assistance, Migration and Refugee Assistance, and Food for Peace must be able to respond not only to the crises of today but also their potential escalation. And of course, should another major natural disaster occur or conflict erupt, some contingency funding is necessary. We urge that these accounts be funded at least at the levels of fiscal year 2014.  
We fully support the Administration’s request to increase funding for peacekeeping; $300 million of that would fund the nascent force in Mali. The proposed Peacekeeping Response Mechanism is a creative response to ensure flexibility should crises escalate, such as the violence in the Central African Republic and South Sudan. We support this proposal. Peacekeeping operations not only help to contain violence, but also enable organizations like CRS to provide humanitarian assistance. 
You can read more here.

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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

In the Amazon

For the month of April the Jesuit 2014 calendar, which commemorates the 200th anniversary of the restoration of the Society of Jesus, focuses on Vicente Cañas, a Spanish Jesuit brother who lived among the indigenous tribes of the Amazon for nearly twenty years.  To learn about the life of a man who, ‘through the Spiritual Exercises, found the interior freedom to offer his very self to Christ,’ go here. 

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