By Gabe Morrison ’17
The Office of Faith and Justice has selected a diverse group of presenters for this year’s Summit on Human dignity who will speak regarding the issues in our current criminal justice system and present their solutions.
The title for this year is “Safe and Sound: The Case for Restorative Justice.”
The Summit will start on March 2 and end on March 13.
One keynote speaker is Fr. Stephen Barber, S.J. who helps to serve members of San Quentin prison, a prison for California’s hardened criminals.
Mr. Paul Fisko, assistant principal for ministry, said Fr. Barber will be speaking because he has an insight into the question: “What does it mean to watch a person who is a criminal… try to find redemption in a prison?”
Another keynote address will be from Janet Connors, whose 19-year-old son was murdered. After looking into her son’s killers, she found they were a product of rough upbringings, which led her to more fully analyze the criminal justice system.
As a result, she helped pass some of the first American “Victim Offender Reconciliation Laws” in Boston, which are laws that help victims reconcile with offenders face to face.
“She’s got a really powerful story, and she has been able to use her story and her narrative to affect some policy change,” said Mr. Ryan Hubbell, director of service and the Summit on Human Dignity.
The final keynote speech will be delivered by two speakers: Tim Nightingale and his wife Noelle Nightingale, both of whom have directed the Victim Offender Reconciliation Program at one point in time.
“They are coming to us because the program is a restorative justice effort that has proven successful. He (Tim) runs a group of… mediators who are fully trained in the law and in mediation practices to bring together a victim and an offender so that they might both receive what they… need to do to move forward,” Mr. Fisko said.
Mr. Hubbell said that in helping select the speakers, specifically Stevenson and Conners, he “wanted to make sure that a community such as ours really felt the impact of the issue because this Summit, unlike the previous three or four we have done, doesn’t really impact you all (the student body) on a day-to-day basis.”