Portland, Ore., Apr 10, 2019 / 13:20 pm
The head of the Oregon prison system is looking to make significant changes to the way the state views punishment, and she insists that Catholics and other people of faith have an important role to play.
Colette Peters is the director of the Oregon Department of Corrections and a cradle Catholic. She is currently heading up a 10-year plan in the state that draws largely from the Norwegian prison system. The collaboration is part of the European Prison Project, which was initiated in 2017.
Peters told CNA that the project seeks to humanize the penitentiary experience. Following the Norwegian structure, she said the act of going to prison should be the penalty, rather than prison being a place where further punishment is administered. Jail time should emulate the community outside of prison, she said, with services including employment departments and libraries.
"Your liberties being taking away, being away from your family is your punishment. Everything else once you arrive in that prison system should model your community life. It should look as much [as possible] like the community that you left, in terms of programing, treatment, education, work, connectivity with your family," she said.