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Life without parole is not a solution to crime, pope says

By Cindy Wooden, 17 September 2019
Pope Francis greets band members during an audience with members of the Italian Prison Police in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Sept. 14, 2019. Image: Vatican Media/CNS.

 

Sentencing someone to life in prison without the possibility of parole is “not the solution to problems, but a problem to solve,” Pope Francis told Italian prison guards, prison chaplains and officials from the Ministry of Justice.

“If you close hope in a cell, there is no future for society,” the pope told thousands of guards, chaplains, volunteers and their family members Sept. 14 during an audience in St. Peter’s Square.

Among those present were two detainees who are serving life sentences, but are engaged in a formal process of recognising the gravity of their crimes, making amends as far as possible and preparing to apply for parole.

While protecting its citizens, the pope said, every society also must seek ways to rehabilitate those who have committed crimes and find ways to help them make positive contributions to society.

Making someone pay for the “errors of the past” cannot mean “cancelling their hope for a future,” he said. In fact, everyone has “the right to hope.”

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With thanks to Catholic News Service (CNS) and Cindy Wooden, where this article originally appeared.

 

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