Excerpts from an autobiographical essay by Carlos Adrian Vazquez, an 18 year old serving an 11-year sentence for involuntary manslaughter. While in juvenile hall, Carlos benefited from a stream of volunteers among whom were some of California’s leading juvenile justice reform advocates—Scott Budnick of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition and Javier Stauring among them. Rev. Michael Kennedy with the Jesuit Restorative Justice Initiative encouraged Carlos through Jesuit meditation practices, which helped Carlos begin to transform his life. Through these things, and by taking responsibility for pain he caused, Carlos began actively seeking forgiveness from a number of places—society, his family, the family of his victim, God, and even Pope Francis, to whom Carlos wrote after encouragement from Kennedy. To Carlos’s surprise, on 21 January 2016, the Pope wrote him back.
Reflections from Inside
Carlos Adrian Vazquez, Jr. is an eighteen-year-old former gang member from Los Angeles who was charged with involuntary manslaughter in 2013 and sentenced to eleven years in prison. Around the time of his incarceration, he wrote a letter to Pope Francis to which he received a reply in January of 2016.
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Carlos Adrian Vazquez; Reflections from Inside. Boom 1 June 2016; 6 (2): 60–73. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/boom.2016.6.2.60
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