IAHR September 2017 Newsletter

IAHR September 2017 Newsletter

This month’s edition of the IAHR Newsletter features the promotion of two programs and two news articles:

IAHR Kicks Off Pen Pal Project for DC Residents in Federal Prisons

Spread Hummus Not Hate

Washington Post: D.C.’s Bowser wants to make it easier for arrestees to seal court records

Can a General Conquer the Federal Prison System?

IAHR Kicks Off Pen Pal Project for DC Residents in Federal Prisons


In the District of Columbia we are aware that over 4,600 District residents are incarcerated in 122 Bureau of Prisons (BOP) facilities around the country and are isolated from their families and loved ones. This makes it particularly difficult for them to successfully maintain supportive relationships and reintegrate into their communities upon their return.  

IAHR’S Pen Pal Program is designed to link members of churches, synagogues, mosques and temples to District residents in BOP facilities.  We are asking volunteers from each religious community to sign up to correspond with one imprisoned D.C. resident at least once a month for one year.  We will be starting with ten Bureau of Prison facilities, and will expand beyond these to residents in other facilities based on our initial success.

15 men and women in the BOP have already signed up for a pen pal.  They are looking for someone who will reach out to them on a regular basis. 

We plan to begin the program in October of 2017 with an orientation for all volunteers which will spell out the guidelines for communicating and address other concerns volunteers may have. We also plan to bring volunteers together periodically to reflect on their experiences and nurture the community of people who have come together to provide support and encouragement to this important segment of our community.  

Be part of our effort to be a supportive presence for our incarcerated neighbors by joining this Pen Pal Program. We hope you will find it a rewarding and an enlightening experience.

For more information and/or to volunteer, contact Rabbi Charles Feinberg at [email protected] or by calling 202-669-7700

Support our Pen Pal Project by making a donation by clicking here.

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Spread Hummus, Not Hate (SHNH), co-sponsored by IAHR and Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum (GWMJF) is an annual day-long circuit by people of faith, activists, and allies travelling on a mini-bus travelling around Greater Washington to deliver the message:

“We are people of faith and of no faith coming out in public to express our love for each other and our determination to work together against Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and bigotry against people of all communities.”

We invite everyone who supports that message to please come out during the course of the day to interact with us, raise consciousness, and have a great time in the process!

Schedule of the Day for Spread Hummus Not Hate 2017

  • 8:30 am – Muslim Community Center:  Enjoy a send-off     breakfast, Join in prayers for peace, Send us on our way!
  • 10:15 am – U of Maryland, Student Union: Speak up for Unity! Eat hummus & pita, Sing, Chant, Rap and Have fun!
  • 12:30 pm – Capitol Hill (Rayburn Gold Rm #2168): Enjoy lunch, Listen to Congresspeople present No Hate resolutions!  
  • 2:45 pm – The Ellipse: Sing songs, Chant, Rap, Remind President Trump he represents ALL Americans...No exceptions!                         
  • 5:00 pm – The American University: “Rally on the Quad” with AU students, dignitaries, dinner, entertainment

Now is the time for people of all faiths and of no faith to speak out for religious liberty, democracy, and solidarity between Americans of all backgrounds. Let your voices be heard!

To *RSVP for Capitol Hill and for more information, contact: 

Andra Baylus [email protected] 

Walter Ruby [email protected]
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Washington Post: D.C.’s Bowser wants to make it easier for arrestees to seal court records 

By Peter Hermann September 14, 2017

Mayor Muriel E. Bowser wants to make it easier for people arrested by police to shield their records, proposing sweeping changes to limit what employers, loan officers, landlords and the public can learn about a person’s criminal background.

It is the latest effort by the District to join at least 20 states in a broad movement to help offenders and people who are arrested, but not convicted, of crimes seal their past run-ins with the law to help them get jobs, secure credit and qualify for housing.

Authorities note that even years-old arrests stay in files forever and shape perceptions.

You can read the rest of this article from the Washington Post by clicking here.

 The Marshall Project: Can a General Conquer the Federal Prison System?

Mark Inch is about to find out.

By JUSTIN GEORGE August 23, 2017

The federal Bureau of Prisons faces a sea of troubles: Escalating medical costs, a prison population with little access to job training programs or computers, an institutional culture averse to change.

In steps Mark S. Inch, the retired two-star general selected by Attorney General Jeff Sessions last month to run the Bureau of Prisons. Inch retired from the Army in May after more than three decades in the military, mostly as a police officer.

While some prison advocates are wary of a leader from an organization disgraced by the abuses at Abu Ghraib, others say a military man may have the courage and discipline to move a stodgy federal prison system toward reforms that have been stalled for years.

“He would provide strong leadership, demand accountability, transparency, and I believe he would be a general who has the ability to think outside the box,” said federal prison consultant Jack Donson, who does not know Inch but worked for the Bureau of Prisons for more than two decades.

You can finish reading this article by clicking here.

Support IAHR’s Pen Pal Project by clicking here 

 IAHR Wishes Its Jewish Friends and Supporters a Healthy and Sweet New Year.