“We share the joy of the families who, gladly and lovingly, welcome their beloved ones, so far deprived of freedom and now pardoned by the Council of State of the Republic of Cuba”. This was written in a release by the National Committee for Penitentiary Pastoral Care of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Cuba (Cocc), chaired by mgr. Jorge Enrique Serpa Pérez, bishop of Pinar del Río.
The new Constitution supports the social rehabilitation of prisoners and, based on this, the Council of State pardoned 2,604 people who had been convicted and sentenced for minor offences. Many of the pardoned convicts are women, young and old people. At any rate, they are people who have already served at least one third of their sentence. “Pardon, which is in itself a humanitarian gesture of mercy – the Committee’s release states –, shows that mercy, in being above the wish for revenge, promotes the social rehabilitation of people who receive it and a better social cohabitation, as Pope Francis taught us in the Year of Mercy and in His unforgettable visit to our country, in September 2015”. Lastly, the release points out that this pardon is “an opportunity to raise the community’s awareness of the need to take more care of and support this special duty of penitentiary pastoral care, which is built on Jesus’s lesson: ‘I was in prison and you visited me’”.