Criminal Justice Ministry (CJM), until recently a program of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, has been selected as the recipient of the 2013 Ethical Humanist of the Year award. This selection was made by a committee of five Society members which reviewed over 45 recommendations for several nominees. The Board of Trustees has voted its approval.

Criminal Justice Ministry offers support to prisoners and those who have recently been released from prison. The organization provides pen pals and prayer sessions for prisoners. CJM gives “Welcome Backpacks” to people newly released from prison providing them with personal items, and CJM aids them in obtaining essential identification documents. Also, CJM provides rental assistance for some just released prisoners. These charitable efforts give comfort and reduce recidivism.

The EHOY committee selected CJM because CJM recognizes the worth in those who may not be seen as worthy by many in our society. CJM’s work is directed toward the humanist ideal that the supreme aim of human life is to create a more humane society. The committee views CJM’s work as consistent with the efforts of the American Ethical Union to improve our nation’s criminal justice system.