HB 1080 and Banner Campaign

We need your help and support!  

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Here's what's wrong:
The National Institute of Corrections has recommended that the state of Maryland reform its use of solitary confinement with good reason.  Currently, Maryland's use of punitive isolation is almost double the national average.  The rate is even higher for mentally ill inmates.

Here's what we're doing: 
IAHR has worked with ACLU-MD and Out for Justice to write a bill proposing changes in solitary confinement regulation for the state of Maryland.  The bill mandates that the Maryland Department of Correctional Services publicly release data regarding the use of solitary confinement, which is also known as "restrictive housing."  The Department has not made public the existing data regarding how often and for what length of time restrictive housing is used. This information is necessary in order to track changes in the system and work to reduce the misuse of restricted housing in Maryland.

Here's how  you can help:
Write an email to the delegates of the Judiciary committee.  Below you will find a short description of the bill along with a link to the full text.  You will also find a sample letter that you can send to the delegates.  Note: This bill is currently being discussed, so it is important that the Judiciary Committee hear from you THIS WEEK.

IAHR is also supporting other bills aiming to reform the Maryland Criminal Justice system.  You can find more information about these bills by clicking on our blog page.

The Judiciary Committee needs to hear from you this week!  Please help us by writing a short letter to members of the Committee.     

HB1180/SB946 Correctional Services - Restrictive Housing - Report

Requiring the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services on or before October 1 each year to submit specified data to the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention relating to the use of restrictive housing in correctional facilities; and requiring the Department to make the information submitted available on the Department's Web site.  

Click here for the bill site.

Sponsors: Delegates Jill Carter & Trent Kittleman

Hearing date:February 26 at 1pm

Committee: House Judiciary Committee (Room 101, House Office Building, Annapolis, MD 21401)

Contact re: questions and testimony suzanneohatnick@comcast.net 

Sample Letter to Maryland State Delegate

Dear Delegate             :

I am writing to urge your support for HB1180, a reporting bill on restrictive housing in Maryland State prisons.

Restrictive housing is a term used by Corrections to describe isolated confinement such as solitary confinement, administrative segregation, disciplinary segregation and protective custody.

The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) has received 15 recommendations from the National Institute of Corrections for reform in this area to reduce the use in Maryland prisons. Currently Maryland’s use of isolation is almost double the national average and even higher for the mentally ill.

An annual reporting bill will be able to track the progress over time of reform efforts. Transparency assures that reform efforts will stay on track.

I thank you in advance for your support.

Sincerely,

“Pennsylvania Implements Humane Strategies for Treating People with Mental Illness in State Prisons,” 

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Read an interview with Lynn Patrone, Mental Health Advocate, article by Susannah Rose  (Scroll Down on the blog page to read the article)

 

IAHR Announces Banner Campaign To Counter Anti-Muslim Bigotry

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To counter anti-Muslim bigotry, Interfaith Action for Human Rights joins with Shoulder to Shoulder and T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Justice to call on U.S. religious communities to display banners signaling their support for the Muslim American community. 

The campaign follows in the tradition of similar banner campaigns, such as Save Darfur, Stand with Israel and Black Lives Matter. It aims to demonstrate that faith communities stand together with the Muslim American community.

There are three banner options:

  • “Honor God –Say No to anti-Muslim Bigotry”
  • “We Stand with our Muslim neighbors”
  • “Organization Name] stands with Muslim Americans”

Banners come in two sizes: 2’ x 6’ - $140, or 3’ x 9’ - $200. 

Click here to order the banner and for more information

“We are All God's Children”

February 10, 2016 by Rabbi Charles Feinberg, Washington Jewish Week

The idea that we are all God’s children is rooted in the closing verses of the first chapter of Genesis, which proclaims that God created the world and created human beings — male and female — in His image.

Each human being then is unique because he or she embodies in some way the image of God. Unlike trees or animals, God created human beings individually, not in groups. This has moral significance since it means that all of us are special and different from each other.

By describing that God created the first man and woman individually, the Torah is teaching us that no person can say that my father or mother is greater than yours, since we are all descended from the same father and mother. Another implication of these verses is that no one individual should be stereotyped because he or she belongs to a particular group or tribe. Our individuality transcends the groups we may be born into or to which we freely associate.

We live in a time when too many political, religious and public figures have ignored this teaching. By casting suspicion on the entire American Muslim community or on Islam itself, these figures are rebelling against this teaching and implicitly denying that each and every one of us is created in the image of God.  It is true that there are Muslims who have succumbed to fantasies of dominance through resorting to brutality, torture and murder. Often these fantasies are motivated by a distorted reading of the Koran.

But we should not jump to the conclusion that all Muslims read the Koran this way. Click here to read the rest of the article.  

 


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