Manitoba Multifaith Council

Manitoba Multifaith Council is an association of faith communities, representatives of faith communities, and individuals from various faith traditions throughout Manitoba. For more information see our annual report.
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Justice / Corrections Committee:
Rationale for the name of the Justice / Corrections Committee:
The corrections system is a network of governmental bodies that is made up of law enforcement, court systems, and correctional programs. These agencies work together for the purpose of providing governmental control on crime.

A just system would seek to include all members of society in the broadest sense. For example, many people of lower status, as well as minorities have been victimized simply because of their social standing and lack of resources – especially knowledge and financial.

It seems that those with more wealth and other resources have a greater ability to respond to situations where they or their family members encounter the corrections system. In essence, they possess more ability than others to deal with the corrections system.

In order to achieve justice, the Committee seeks ways to support / provide equal opportunities and resources for those who have less resources. While we does not argue with the notion of appropriately punishing the guilty, we hope to promote fairness and equal rights for victims, offenders and the families of both – which are often in conflict with one another

Because we hope to support people involved in the corrections system and promote fairness and equal rights, we prefer the name of the Committee: Justice / Corrections.

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Committee on Corrections

Purpose Statement

The Manitoba Interfaith Council Committee on Corrections is a vital vehicle for churches, faith communities and individuals to promote and foster spiritual and religious care for persons involved in the criminal justice and correctional system in Manitoba.

Current Objectives

  1. To link churches, faith communities and individuals for reflection and action around issues of criminal justice and corrections
  2. To advocate for safe communities through critical reflection and voicing construction concerns about effectiveness in the criminal justice and correctional systems
  3. To promote the reintegration of ex-offenders returning to the community
  4. To provide liaison among faith-based agencies involved in ministry within the criminal justice and correctional systems
  5. To recruit and support volunteers assisting those in prison and returning to the community
  6. To educate congregations, faith communities and the general public concerning restorative justice approaches to criminal justice and corrections and involvement of victims of crime
  7. To support chaplains and spiritual care givers who provide pastoral care to residents of correctional facilities. To advise the Government of Manitoba on Chaplaincy Services through the Provincial Advisory Board. To assist in the selection process for chaplains.

Current projects:

  • Visiting inmates at the Headingly Institution and the Remand Centre, enabling faith services and discussion groups.
  • Providing information about community services for inmates returning to the community
  • Establishing a help line for ex-offenders
  • Sponsoring education and dialogue with faith and community leaders
  • Supporting the establishment of an Islamic chaplain for provincial institutions
  • Promoting restorative justice week information in congregations and faith communities

Freedom of Religion

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (2a) guarantees:

  • Everyone the fundamental freedom of conscience and religion.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) Article 18 states that:

  • “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his or her religion or belief, and freedom either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

The U.N. Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners states:

  • If an institution contains a sufficient number of prisoners of the same religion, a qualified representative of that religion shall be appointed or approved...if the numbers and conditions permit, “the arrangement should be on a full-time basis.”
  • A qualified representative appointed or approved shall be allowed to hold regular services and to pay pastoral visits in private to prisoners of their religion at proper times.
  • Access to a qualified representative of any religion shall not be refused to any prisoner and if any prisoner should object to a visit of any religious representative, this attitude shall be fully respected.
  • As far as practicable, every prisoner shall be allowed to satisfy the needs of their religious life by attending the services provided in the institution and having in their possession the books of religious observance and instruction of their denomination.

Some Faith Foundations

“I was in prison and you visited me.” Matthew 25:37

“If anyone does evil or wrongs his own soul but afterwards seeks Allah’s forgiveness, he will find Allah oft-Forgiving, most Merciful.” Qur’an: al-Nisa 110.

“The spiritual essence of the First Nations’ people comes from the earth, comes from the land. Restorative justice may be the solution to the spiritual/community problems that have plagued the First Nations’ people since the partnership with the Europeans was established in North America. Indeed, First Nations’ traditions of conflict resolution and healing may well provide spiritual practices that help others as well.” Arthur W. Blue and Meredith A. Rogers Blue from The Spiritual Roots of Restorative Justice, Michael L. Hadley, editor.

 

The MMC Committee on Corrections is associated with The Church Council on Justice and Corrections (CCJC).