This month IAHR kicks off a series of programs to inform you about the upcoming session of the Maryland Legislature. The Legislature will be considering a number of bills including sentence reform, parole reform, and enfranchising parolees. IAHR along with the ACLU-MD will be introducing a “reporting bill” which mandates the Department of Correctional Services to give quarterly reports on the number of prisoners in solitary. We need your support and advocacy in order to persuade legislators. Please come to one of the meetings listed below. For more information on IAHR’s reporting bill, click here.
Following the murderous terrorist outrage in San Bernardino County, the IAHR Board has become deeply disturbed by the anti-Muslim rhetoric of public figures, including Republican Presidential candidates. We call upon all religious communities to stand with Muslim Americans. IAHR is initiating a banner project as one way to show our support for the Muslim community. Scroll down for a detailed description of the banner project.
Citizen Advocate! Mark one of these January dates in your calendar now!
These sessions will offer information about pending legislation and opportunities for you to be engaged in reform of our criminal justice system in Maryland:
January 3: 9:15 am
Stony Run Friends Meeting
5116 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21210
Diamonte Brown and returning citizens of Out for Justice and Suzanne O’Hatnick of Interfaith Action for Human Rights will discuss legislation about Solitary Confinement. For information, call 410-362-2604.
January 17: 11 am
Baltimore Ethical Society
306 W. Franklin St. #102
Baltimore, MD 21201
Diamonte Brown and returning citizens of Out for Justice and Suzanne O’Hatnick of Interfaith Action for Human Rights will discuss legislation about Solitary Confinement. For information call410-581-2322.
January 17: 6 pm
Rose of Lima Catholic Church
11701 Clopper Rd.
Gaithersburg, MD 20878
- Rabbi Charles Feinberg of Interfaith Action for Human Rights, Diamonte Brown, and returning citizens of Out for Justice will discuss legislation about Solitary Confinement.
- A representative of Friend of a Friend will discuss mentoring work in the prison system and in impacted communities.
- Philip Caroom of the Maryland Alliance for Justice Reform will highlight the main recommendations of the Maryland Justice Reinvestment Coordinating Council and related legislation.
- For more information, call 301-661-0449.
Sign the Petition
Reduce Prolonged Solitary Confinement in Maryland
According to a recent report from the Maryland Department of Correctional Services, over 8% of the prison population is confined to administrative or disciplinary segregation (solitary). The national average is 4%. The average length of stay in segregation in Maryland prisons is 125 days. ---Psychologists and Human Rights lawyers urge that no one should be in solitary for more than 15 days. There are humane and effective alternatives to solitary confinement/segregation.
We call upon state legislators and the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services to take steps to reduce prolonged solitary confinement/segregation.
Historic Settlement Overhauls Solitary Confinement in New York
This month New York State settled a law suit brought by the ACLU in New York that will result in a major reform of solitary confinement in New York State prisons. You can read the details of the reform here. Here are two press accounts in the New York Times and the Atlantic. The reforms in New York may have a ripple effect across the nation.
IAHR Announces Banner Project to Counter Islamophobia
In order to counter the hateful speech and the singling out of the American Muslim community, IAHR is embarking on a banner project. IAHR will be producing banners that can be posted on the property of religious communities and that can be seen by passers-by. IAHR will be offering two choices for the text of the banner. One text will be “Honor God-say no to anti-Muslim bigotry.” The other text will be “We Stand with Muslim Americans.” The banners will be made out of all-weather material and can be easily hung or posted outside. The cost of a banner will be $150 for one that is 2 X 6 feet or $200 for one that is 3 X 9 feet. The cost will include shipping and handling expenses. On January 13, IAHR will be formally “rolling out” the banner project.
Please check out our revamped website. IAHR appreciates any feedback you may have about it. You can send the feedback to Rabbi Chuck Feinberg at [email protected]
On behalf of the IAHR Board, I wish all our Christian friends and supporters a meaningful and merry Christmas.