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Rehabilitation is key to prisons' success, Pope argues

Catholic World News - November 26, 2012

The criminal-justice system must strive to rehabilitate convicts as well as to punish them, Pope Benedict XVI said in an address to a group of European prison officials. "In order to practice justice it is not enough that those found guilty of crimes be simply punished: it is necessary that in punishing them, everything possible be done to correct and improve them,” the Pope said. “When this does not happen, justice is not done in an integral sense.”

In fact, the Pontiff continued, a prison system that punishes criminals without providing for rehabilitation “paradoxically reinforces rather than overcomes the tendency to commit crime and the threat posed to society by the individual.”

At a time when crime rates are rising in many societies, the Pope said, prison systems should do their utmost to “bring about the offender’s effective re-education, which is required both for the sake of his own dignity and with a view to his reintegration into society.”

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