"A Catholic approach begins with the recognition that the dignity of the human person applies to both victim and offender. As bishops, we believe that the current trend of more prisons and more executions, with too little education and drug treatment, does not truly reflect Christian values and will not really leave our communities safer. We are convinced that our tradition and our faith offer better alternatives that can hold offenders accountable and challenge them to change their lives; reach out to victims and reject vengeance; restore a sense of community and resist the violence that has engulfed so much of our culture..."
"As bishops, we offer a word of thanks and support to those who devote their lives and talents to the tasks of protection and restoration: chaplains and prison ministry volunteers, police and corrections officers, prosecutors and defense attorneys, and counselors. We call on others to join them in a new commitment to prevent crime and to rebuild lives and communities. As ordained ministers committed to service, deacons should be especially drawn to the challenge of Matthew 25: "For I was . . . in prison and you visited me." We also wish to stand in solidarity with crime victims in their pain and loss, insisting that all our institutions reach out to them with understanding, compassion, and healing..."
Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice. Issued by USCCB, November 15, 2000