Pact follows the guidance of Pope Benedict XVI and says “it is good that you exist.”
The first step, they say, is to do away with the term “offender,” which they believe is counter-productive to reintroducing ex-prisoners — or “service users,” as they prefer to call them — back into society. The approach echoes the philosophy of Soren Kierkegaard, who said, “Once you label me you negate me.”
In the nine-minute mission outline, featured above, staff members said:
“As human beings we are not defined by the bad things we have done in our lives. We can all hope for a narrative of redemption.”
Pact suggests that what prisoners need is a stronger support system that draws upon family members. According to a national study by the Ministry of Justice, ex-prisoners are up to 40% less likely to re-offend if supported by family members.
In order to realize these goals, Pact would like to increase the group’s numbers by an additional 1,000 volunteers. These workers will be trained under the principle, “Not about us, without use.” This means that they do not speak on behalf of the people they serve, but rather their role is to support, facilitate, and equip the people they serve to speak for themselves.
In the video, their staff says that this concept of inherent dignity in every human being is a result of their “living roots.” They say:
“We are firmly rooted in the Christian faith and Catholic social teaching.”
On their website, Pact’s President, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, is quoted saying:
“Pact is the major Catholic charity providing support for prisoners and their families, working in most prisons across England and Wales. This work is a direct expression of our discipleship and a very concrete expression of our desire to serve the Lord in those who are most vulnerable.”
If you are interested in becoming one of the thousand volunteers they are looking to add to their ranks, click here.
Since you are here…
…we’d like to have one more word with you. We are excited to report that Aleteia’s readership is growing at a rapid rate, world-wide! Our team proves its mission every day by providing high-quality content that informs and inspires a Christian life. But quality journalism has a cost and it’s more than ads can cover. We want our articles to be accessible to everyone, free of charge, but we need your help. To continue our efforts to nourish and inspire our Catholic family, your support is invaluable. Become an Aleteia Patron today for as little as $3 a month. May we count on you?