Published on October 7, 2016
Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate per capita in the world and the most legal restrictions on employment for ex-prisoners in the country. Each year, Catholic Charities’ Cornerstone Builders, in collaboration with other local organizations and community leaders, hosts the Symposium for Systemic Change and Criminal Justice Reform that concentrates on systemic change in the criminal justice system with the ultimate goal of ending mass incarceration.
“Mass incarceration is the final chapter in the struggle from slavery to this day.” – Ronnie Moore, Cornerstone Builders Program Director & renowned New Orleans civil rights leader
Government officials, non-profit leaders, religious clergy, local business owners, students and formerly incarcerated individuals come together to discuss the revision of sentencing laws, re-entry bills and strategies to end mass incarceration. The symposium yearly engages hundreds of individuals in issues of criminal justice reform such as advocating for the right for returning citizens on probation and parole.
“The annual symposium is an opportunity to learn more about our criminal justice system and its significant impact on the lives of individuals, families and our community. It is also an opportunity to better understand ‘our baptismal call’ and commitment to the Church’s beliefs, values and vision,” commented Sr. Marjorie Hebert, President and CEO of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans.
“Pope Francis and our Bishops urge us to live and act in the spirit of the mercy of God. The symposium will further enlighten us of the needs of our brothers and sisters who have lived and experienced the challenges of our criminal justice system,” she continued. “We will also gain insights as to how we can advocate for change in the criminal justice system to improve the lives of returning citizens and better respond to the corporal work of mercy – to visit the imprisoned.”
Featuring more than a dozen speakers and mass celebrated by Archbishop Gregory Aymond, this year’s symposium will be on Friday, October 21, 2016, from 9 AM to 2 PM at St. Agnes Church (3310 Jefferson Hwy, Jefferson, LA). Mass will be held at 8 AM.