Pope John Paul has urged world leaders to use the Holy Year as an opportunity for a "gesture of clemency" to prison inmates and to rethink their attitude to punishment and jail conditions.
    In a letter released by the Vatican ahead of the Jubilee day for prisoners on Sunday, the Holy Father urged authorities to "reflect on the meaning of inflicting punishment and suggest better proposals for society to aim at".
    "I turn with confidence to state authorities to ask for a gesture of clemency towards all those in prison," he said.
    "A reduction, even a modest one, of the term of punishment would be for prisoners a clear sign of sensitivity to their condition and would surely evoke a positive echo in their hearts and encourage them to regret the evil done and lead them to personal repentance," he added in the letter.
Irish Independent
3 July 00

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