Interfaith Action for Human Rights is a coalition of Mid-Atlantic faith communities and human rights groups that believe in a multi-faith, multi-racial, and multi-ethnic society based on human rights and respect for human dignity.
Our mission is to strengthen bridges among regional faith communities to counter racism and religious bigotry and to work to redress pervasive injustice in our criminal justice system. Particularly, we seek to change the culture, policy or practices that cause torture or violate human dignity.
Guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the wisdom of our respective faiths, we work with faith and civil society groups to advocate for more just and compassionate laws and policies. We also develop pastoral and educational programs to engage and mobilize faith communities and the public.
Local forum addresses solitary confinement in Maryland prisons
July 26, 2018
For Frederick-based prisoners’ rights advocate Kim Haven, solitary confinement is one of the biggest human rights issues of our era.
“We have made our prisons our de facto mental health institutions, our response to homelessness, our response to domestic violence and addiction, our response to people we just don’t give a crap about,” Haven said. “What we do to people in there is what they bring back to our communities. The damage is incalculable.”
Haven spoke along with other advocates at a public forum Tuesday in Frederick on the use of solitary confinement in Maryland prisons. As a formerly incarcerated person now active in campaigns for improved conditions, Haven shared firsthand experience with Maryland prisons. Click here to continue reading.
IAHR's End Solitary Campaign
Read Theresa Vargas' Washington Post Column on IAHR's work in Virginia, featuring Gay Gardner.
Watch IAHR officers, Kimberly Jenkins-Snodgrass and Gay Gardner speak about solitary confinement at Red Onion Prison and in Virginia prisons. TV Inside Scoop is actually two separate weekly one hour live political shows produced in Fairfax Virginia. The Virginia oriented Sunday show is 6:30 to 7:30 PM Eastern time and the Monday National/International show is from 7:00 to 8:00 PM Eastern time.
Where We Stand
Programmatic Goals for 2017-2018
Reforming Criminal Justice
- Work with the Maryland Prisoners’ Rights coalition to support pending legislation in MD to improve prison conditions and restrict the use of solitary confinement. Participate in the 2018 Advocacy Day and other activities.
- Identify and mobilize a coalition to promote legislation and/or executive action to end prolonged solitary confinement in Virginia.
- Revive efforts to limit prolonged solitary confinement in the DC jail.
- Support individual prisoners and their families in efforts to improve prison conditions, especially around solitary confinement.
- Support national efforts to close Guantanamo.
- Advocate for policies and programs that ensure the productive re-entry of returning citizens from our region into society.
- Recruit and orient at least 30 pen pals for DC citizens in federal prisons.
Combating Religious Bigotry
- Lead and participate in annual interfaith projects such as “Imam-Rabbi Summit” and “Spread Hummus Not Hate” sponsored by IAHR and the Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum.
- Develop an outreach strategy to engage more regional faith communities in the struggle against anti-Islamic bigotry.
What We Do
- Against Islamophobia
- Against Prolonged Solitary Confinement
- For closing Guantanamo
- Organize Petitions to end torture and solitary confinement
- Sponsor screenings, speakers and programs on the abuse of solitary confinement
- Sponsor legislation on solitary confinement
- Testify before state legislatures and local governments
- Track issues to keep our supporters and the public up to date
- Write articles, letters to the editor and on social media about our agenda
- Form coalitions with other human and civil rights organizations to advocate for criminal justice reform and to oppose anti-Muslim bigotry
How to Help
- Educate your faith community on our core missions
- Show Hawo's Dinner (anti-Muslim sentiment)
- Show Torture in your backyard (Solitary Confinement)
- Invite an IAHR guest speaker
- Provide advocacy on one of IAHR campaigns
- Organize a letter writing campaign
How to Contact IAHR