MARCH IS JUVENILE JUSTICE MONTH OF FAITH AND HEALING
Join this annual event that unites congregations of all faith traditions, high schools and universities in California to raise awareness of individual, community, and social needs arising from the current juvenile justice system. For more information on how to get involved, please visit http://www.healingjusticecoalition.org.
By Doris Benavides, JRJI's Director of Operations
Calipatria, California - February 24, 2015
It is past 7:30 on a Tuesday morning. The sky is blue, day is pristine bright, and the pasture is as green as it can be. The road very narrow, and the Jesuit Restorative Justice Initiative Team’s car is the only one traveling through the deserted, yet green scenery.
Then we spot some sheep. We all got happy, not a very common picture when you’re heading to a prison. It was the answer to Manny’s question the night before. “What do people do for a living in this town?” asked the Jesuit novice. At 7pm Brawley was a ghost town. “Could it be that most of the people who live here work at the prison?” Calipatria State Prison that is.
“They look young,” said one in the car about the sheep. “Lamb chops mmmm,” quipped another. “But… where’s the shepherd?” said a third one---there was no person to be seen.
It seemed we were describing the population we were about to meet.
“Growing up in a poor home was not easy, of course you don’t have all the cool things the other kids have. The toys, the clothes, the shoes, or those cool lunches they bring to school: The lunchable. I know I always wanted one,” wrote Miguel on his writing “Poverty Sucks,” product of a previous retreat.
“It was the simple things that were the hardest,” he continued. “Like you haven’t ate for the last two days because it was the weekend. No school. No food! But you go in on Monday and the kids are making fun of you because your toe is sticking out of the hole in your shoe. Now, that’s painful. I’d rather deal with my hunger pains for a week than that. I fought a lot because of that reason. Poverty Sucks!”
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March 5: Retreat at Kern Valley State Prison
March 16: Retreat Ironwood State Prison
March 24: Retreat at Calipatria State Prison
March 29: Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion
Mike Kennedy, SJ: Healing Broken Relationships
filmed by The IN Network (2012)
Take a ride with Fr. Michael Kennedy, SJ, the Executive Director of the Jesuit Restorative Justice Initiative in Culver City, CA and learn the way JRJI operates in order to restore relationships broken as a result of gang violence and incarceration.