Sheriff Villanueva Attended Annual Christmas Mass with Archbishop Jose H. Gomez at Men’s Central Jail on Wednesday, December 25, 2019.
Celebrating Christmas Mass at Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles is a tradition for those inmates incarcerated at Men’s Central Jail. Their rehabilitation presses onward as Sheriff Villanueva and Archbishop Gomez celebrate mass with approximately 150 inmates. This annual tradition allows inmates to participate in the holiday ceremony despite their incarceration.
After mass was celebrated, Sheriff Villanueva and Archbishop Gomez both took the time to shake hands with all of the inmates as they exited the church, spreading holiday joy. Many thanked the Sheriff as they passed him by.
Sheriff Villanueva was asked why this was important to him. He explained that we are not defining people by their bad decisions of the past, but by what they can do in the future, and what they can do from this point forward. He went on to express how welcoming it is to see everyone come together to celebrate mass and to see the emotional impact it has on the inmates.
The LA County Sheriff’s Department has a variety of increasing inmate services geared toward the county jail’s population. As an essential part of rehabilitation, the Jail Chaplaincy Program goal is to reduce recidivism, hoping to ensure a smoother transition of the approximately 16,000 inmates who will eventually rejoin our communities.
Through the Jail Chaplaincy Program, qualified and devoted individuals provide programs and services to inmates and their families, which enhance their lives during incarceration and support them upon reentry into the community. These services, provided for all denominations provide. Sheriff Alex Villanueva said, “The spiritual health of those in our care is just as important as their physical well being. This type of work is indicative of the culture of our Department, and is the epitome of the holiday spirit.”