From The Community: The Justice Imperative With John S. Santa, Enfield Library, 7 pm
By Community Contributor kmassetti, About this post
Date of Program: Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at 7:00 PM
Visit the Enfield Public Library on Wednesday, November 5th at 7:00 PM for, “The Justice Imperative: How Hyper-Incarceration has Hijacked the American Dream,” a lecture presented by John S. Santa.
Malta Justice Initiative (MJI) began its work in the early 2000s under the name Malta Prison Volunteers of Connecticut (MPVCT). Initially, the program intended to assist with the spiritual needs of inmates through Bible study and the distribution of books and Bibles to correctional facilities. As volunteers began working with prisoners, they came to understand that one of the inmate’s greatest needs was a job upon release. At that point, MPVCT created the Prodigal Project which was an undertaking to speak with potential employers and encourage them to consider hiring a qualified ex-offender. When MPVCT volunteers started speaking with various service organizations throughout the state, two things began to stand out: the lack of information regarding the criminal justice system and the minimal efforts made to offer jobs to formerly incarcerated people. A change to the system was paramount and MPVCT gathered a group of professionals (attorneys, professors, correctional professionals, clergy, and business people) in the field to write a book: The Justice Imperative: How Hyper-Incarceration has Hijacked the American Dream. Along the way, MPVCT also changed its name to Malta Justice Initiative (MJI). Although members of the group continue to visit inmates in prison, offer spiritual guidance, provide books and Bibles, and encourage the hiring of formerly incarcerated citizens, the MJI’s hope is that the publication of their book will be a spring board furthering efforts to educate, engage, and empower the general public and give people a voice to encourage legislators to make policy decisions that are “smart on crime” and serve to make all our neighborhoods safer and more compassionate.
After a 40-year career in marketing, finance, and finally as C.E.O. at Santa Energy, presenter, John S. Santa, now serves as an independent director for four private corporations, as well as maintaining his commitment to social justice and community service. He has served on many community boards and is a founder of the National Oilheat Research Alliance and was instrumental in putting a bill through Congress for its establishment. John is also the grateful recipient of a Paul Harris Fellowship from the Rotary Club of Fairfield Connecticut, received the Volunteer of the Year Award from the State of Connecticut-Department of Correction, and in 2012 was awarded the Graymoor Award from the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement for his work on behalf of current and formerly incarcerated men and women. A prophetic voice in the modern Criminal Justice Reform movement, he began his work in 1998 when he and his colleagues founded the MPVCT, now known as the MJI. The MJI conducts prison ministry activities from coast to coast, and for these accomplishments, as well as his untiring dedication to criminal justice legislative reform, John was awarded an honorary Doctor of Law Degree from Fairfield University in May 2014.
Books will be on hand for sale. All programs at the Enfield Public Library are free and all are welcome. To register for this program, please visit the Circulation Desk, or call 860-763-7512. For more information on upcoming programs, please visit our website: www.enfieldpubliclibrary.org.