Our Mission

IAHR represents people of faith who educate and advocate in Maryland, DC and Virginia for corrections systems that avoid unnecessarily punitive practices such as solitary confinement and that instead focus on rehabilitation and successful reentry. 

Our Vision

IAHR envisions a societal system of corrections that

Is free of racism,

Is rehabilitative rather than punitive, and that...

  • Honors the dignity of each human being,
  • Helps people return to society well prepared to carry on with fulfilling and productive lives and
  • Holds those in power in the system responsible for implementing these principles.   

IAHR also envisions a society that minimizes the use of corrections by addressing the need for economic opportunity, education and healthcare of all of its members.

Our Work

IAHR contributes to the realization of our vision by bringing interfaith-based action to bear on prison reform in MD, DC (and the Federal Bureau of Prisons), and VA by:

  Advocating for

  • the end of all forms of brutality & torture in prisons and jails,
  • limiting the use of solitary confinement to 15 consecutive days and working toward its elimination,
  • the development of rehabilitative alternatives to the current system of mass incarceration and
  • improvement of education, medical care, and mental health services for those incarcerated,

 Providing supportive correspondents as well as legal and other services to those who are incarcerated and

 Educating the general population on prison reform.

Special Virtual Program on the DC Jail

January 19, 2022 at 12 noon.

In November, 2021, the DC Jail became a headline in the local and national media. Many accused of participating in the insurrection on January 6, 2021 complained to sympathetic CongressionalRepresentatives about the terrible conditions in the jail. The upshot of this was that federal marshals said it would remove about 400 federal inmates from a Washington, D.C., jail after an inspection revealed that one of its facilities did not meet the minimum standards required by federal regulations. Controversy ensured when it was revealed that the most of those removed were DC residents who were would be far from DC, their attorneys, and their family and friends.

IAHR has invited Emily Tatro, Deputy Director of the Council for Court Excellence (CCE), Russell Rowe, a returning citizen who was incarcerated at the jail in 2021, and Kareem McCraney, program analyst for the Corrections Information Council to discuss the problems in the jail and what local leaders are planning to do about it. We will be asking them about the physical conditions, treatment by correctional officers, the use of solitary confinement, and the future of the jail. 


Emily Tatro                                  Kareem McCraney                           Russell Rowe

Emily Tatro (she/her) serves as Deputy Director of the Council for Court Excellence where she develops and leads policy and advocacy work to address the most pressing issues in D.C.’s criminal legal system, especially those impacting people returning home from prison and jail. Prior to joining CCE, Emily was the Criminal and Disability Rights Fellow for the D.C. Jail and Prison Advocacy Project at Disability Rights D.C., a program of University Legal Services. Before that, she spent her days on the Peace Path, building conflict resolution skills with three- and four-year-olds in her Pre-K classroom. 

Kareem McCraney is a Program Analyst for the DC Corrections Information Council (CIC). He is responsible for compiling data and composing reports on the conditions of confinement and programming provided to DC youth offenders in the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and the  Department of Corrections (DOC). These reports are utilized to ensure that incarcerated DC residents have all the necessary programs available to them, and that these programs are conducive to their rehabilitation while in the custody of the BOP & DOC.

Russell Rowe (he/him) is a 32-year-old Washingtonian navigating his successful reentry to community following a term of incarceration at DC Jail. After graduating (with honors) from Archbishop Carroll High School, Russell attended the University of Pittsburgh where he graduated with honors obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science. Despite his successes at PITT, Russell struggled mightily with the racial climate. For the first time, he experienced the elements of discrimination and hate by police, members of the greater community, even fellow students. What he experienced over the following few years was a vicious cycle of mental health, alcohol abuse, and involvement in the justice system that cut short his graduate education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has impacted his career development, and has strained relationships.

Since returning to DC in 2015, Russell has sought solutions to his mental health and justice-involvement. Although he has experienced setbacks including incarceration, he has learned how to navigate mental health care services and other networks of services and supports for anybody looking to improve their human condition. Additionally, he has accumulated over five years of professional experience in community relations and services for both government and non-profit organizations. 

Please join us on Wednesday, January 19, 2022 at 12 noon!

To receive the zoom link Please RSVP by clicking here

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Interfaith Action for Human Rights (IAHR) launched its first pen pal program in 2017 to keep DC residents connected to their communities while serving time in federal prisons around the country. Since then, we’ve connected over 250 inmates and local volunteers who exchange letters at least once a month.

Joining our program is an opportunity to:

  • Build a new friendship
  • Stay connected to your community
  • Learn more about prison conditions in Maryland
  • Share your story to inform our work on prison reform.

Interested? We’d love to hear from you! Send us a letter to introduce yourself to Ingrid Johnson, who is helping organize the Maryland Project. 

We ask our pen pals to write at least once a month for a year. Most of our pen pals have been writing to their correspondent for more than a year. Most have developed very good relations with their pen pal and have learned a lot about the person, the operations of the Bureau of Prisons, and the criminal justice system. 

We ask everyone interested in becoming a pen pal to attend an online orientation that lasts about an hour. The next orientation is on Wednesday, September 29 at 7:30 p.m. If you are interested, please contact John List who is the project chair. 

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