Pope urges dignity, rehabilitation for prisoners

AP News
Posted: Nov 22, 2012 8:14 AM

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The pope is urging prison administrators to respect the dignity and rights of criminals in their care, and to help rehabilitate them.

Pope Benedict XVI met Thursday with participants of a conference of European prison administrators and urged them to re-educate prisoners, not just punish them. He said society and prisoners themselves would benefit.

The Vatican itself has been accused of shortcomings in its detention practices. Benedict's ex-butler Paolo Gabriele, convicted last month of stealing papal documents and leaking them to a journalist, accused Vatican police of causing him "psychological pressure" by keeping him in a tiny cell with the lights on constantly for his first 20 days of detention.

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Vatican police defended their actions and said the cell conformed to international standards. But the Vatican prosecutor opened an investigation.