IAHR represents people of faith and allies who educate and advocate in Maryland, DC, and Virginia for corrections systems to abolish unnecessarily punitive practices such as solitary confinement and to instead focus on rehabilitation and successful reentry of our citizens.
IAHR envisions a societal system of corrections that:
- Is free of racism,
- Is rehabilitative rather than punitive,
- Honors the dignity of each human being,
- Does not disenfranchise people upon release,
- Holds those in power accountable for implementing these principles.
IAHR envisions a society that minimizes the use of corrections by addressing the need for economic opportunity, education, and healthcare for all.
IAHR contributes to realizing this vision by bringing interfaith-based action that calls on prison reform in MD, DC (and the Federal Bureau of Prisons), and VA. We are advocating for:
- The end of all forms of brutality & torture in prisons and jails,
- Limiting the use of solitary confinement 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.
We work to provide supportive correspondence and legal and other services to incarcerated people and educate the general population on prison reform.
The National Religious Campaign Against Torture has produced a film, Torture in Our Name, that we encourage you to watch. In this 35-minute documentary, filmmaker Matthew Gossage showcases the tenacity and resilience of people who have faced the torture of solitary confinement first-hand and are working to end it once and for all.
Pen Pal Program
Interested? We’d love to hear from you! Send us a letter to introduce yourself to our pen pal coordinator.
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. If you are interested, please contact our penpal coordinator at [email protected] or write to PO Box 9731, Arlington, VA 22219
This excerpt from a letter we received from an incarcerated individual at Wallens Ridge State Prison shows how much it means to those incarcerated to simply to know that someone on the outside cares:
"I am so very thankful for the concern you have shown for me and my well being. . . I am thankful for you being more than just a bunch of "talk”. . . I am thankful for everything that you and Interfaith Action for Human Rights are all about. . . It's not often that I've witnessed anything beyond rhetoric from those in society that are in positions to make change in the way that prisoners are often mistreated. I've heard about and read about such people and organizations, but never have I had real life experience with such people or organizations. I know that I'm just a drop in the bucket, life is filled with so many more problematic issues far, far, far greater than mine...Yet someone took time out of their day to say to me (through words and actions), "I hear you, and you matter." I'll be forever grateful."