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RJ Programs Take Root and Become Self-Sustaining in Diocese of Orange

February 28, 2017

The Diocese of Orange has been working to create restorative justice programming that can support local parishes as well as bring healing to the larger community and change the punitive practices of our criminal justice system.

Current programs include 

  • ChristBound Youth Outreach offers a parish-based gang outreach program for youth ready to transition away from gang life, in need of a place to go after release from detention, on probationary terms, or at risk.
  • Padres Unidos, in partnership with Chapman University, provides instructional staff and intervention specialists to help parents of both in-custody and out-of-custody and at risk youth. 
  • Project Kinship, in partnership with the University of Southern California, provides instructional staff to released inmates for Intervention Worker Certification, job placement, and Restorative Justice Healing Circles.
  • St. Rita Support Group provides parish-based support and resources to victims of domestic violence.
  • Restorative Justice Classes for in-custody inmates and out-of-custody probationers based on Restorative Justice principles that include awareness of the personal and collective harm caused by criminal behavior.

Several of these successful programs have become financially self-sustaining after an initial launch made possible by funds from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) grant.

Through these community programs the Diocese identified leadership among the participants. They received advanced training to become certified in community and family intervention work. They are now giving back to the community by volunteering their time and personal experience to help others re-entering the community after a period of incarceration and also by assisting local schools struggling with gang activity.