Penal Policy Issues
Click here to view all of our material on Penal Policy People in prison are amongst the most marginalised and vulnerable in our society. The majority have left school early, experience literacy and learning difficulties and have a history of unemployment. Many prisoners suffer from mental illness and experience drug and alcohol dependency. A substantial number of prisoners have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives. Prisons have become dumping grounds for those rejected by society.
Click here to view all of our material on Housing Policy
The right to a safe and secure place to live is one of the most basic human rights, it is fundamental to enable people to live a dignified life. Without the security provided by having somewhere to live, physical and mental health is at risk. Accessing and maintaining employment is also extremely difficult when someone has nowhere to live. The Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice has written a comprehensive policy paper, The Irish Housing System: Vision, Values, Reality, which provides the evidence and background to our work.
Our current policy focus will be an examination of how social housing is provided. Click here to read relevant publications and articles from Working Notes. Our website whycare.ie also provides useful information on Housing and Homelessness.
Economic justice is perhaps the fulcrum around which all social justice debates in contemporary society rotate. In our political discourse, every question of human flourishing seems to be reduced to bottom-line thinking. This focus on riches impoverishes our shared discourse and has serious negative consequences for society, as evidenced in the rise of populist political movements which source their discontent in the economic stagnation that affects many sectors of society.
In such a setting, there is a great need for alternative approaches to economic justice and distinctive visions for how prosperity can encourage human flourishing for all, not just those at the top. This has been one of the major challenges that Pope Francis has levied to the faithful through his papacy, most notably in his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium .
Francis is clear that our personal wealth implicates us: “The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase; and in the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.” The Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice seeks to be moved by this scandal and to foster a conversation with all people of goodwill that recognises the collective impoverishment involved in our current economic framework. Our Working Notes  regularly address these issues and our school resource website WhyCare.ie   offers useful information.
Click here to view all of our material on Environmental Justice
Environmental protection has emerged as a key element of social justice debates in recent decades. This has occurred in parallel to growing awareness of the negative impacts of our relationship with the natural environment, and of environmental degradation on vulnerable populations and future generations. Science has described the intricate web of relationships in which people play an active part. In the face of increasing environmental crises, the fundamental web of creation in which humanity finds itself requires a new respect, a new justice.
Historically, the most significant Jesuit to reflect on humankind's part in creation was Pierre Teilard deChardin. Since deChardin's insights, the Jesuit voice on environmental matters has been strengthened significantly with the publication of Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si' – On Care for Our Common Home. The encyclical invites us to embrace an integral ecology approach to tackling the interconnected social and environmental problems currently facing global society. In response to the growing demand for environmental justice, the Jesuit Centre undertook a review of how care of the environment might be better fostered. To fulfil this commitment, the Centre engages in critical policy reflection and analysis on environmental issues. The Centre has also produced two issues of Working Notes (Issue 72 and 77) dedicated to promoting attention to the environment.
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