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On Sunday, March 21, the Washington Post featured a special section on Reimagining Criminal Justice. I wrote a letter to the editor in response to the feature. The letter was published on Sunday, March 28.
The recent settlement between the State of MD and three incarcerated men has given hope to people sentenced to life imprisonment when they were teenagers. The State of MD agreed that a person's age when sentenced to life should be a factor when considering parole. Unfortunately, the Governor of Maryland still has veto power over the Parole Board's decisions. However, if a person was sentenced to life while a teenager, that should be a factor in whether to parole that person. https://www.washingtonpost.com/.../0ebb6c3e-81d6-11eb...
Please join this letter in support of Wilmer Elias-Mendoza, a disabled Honduran asylum-seeker and victim of trafficking who has been held in solitary confinement for nearly 3 weeks. He has been detained for over 2 years after being unjustly criminalized under the ICE priorities set by the Trump Administration, and has experienced medical and mental health neglect. Wilmer's situation is emblematic of how the new Biden guidelines regarding immigration enforcement are not being properly applied to those who are already detained. For Wilmer, and for many migrants who have endured prolonged detention under the cruel Trump policies, nothing has changed. Please join us in calling on Members of Congress to champion his case and contact ICE headquarters about his parole request.
Write Gov Northam to End the Use of Attack Dogs
This week Gay Gardner, IAHR’s Special Advisor on Virginia, was interviewed in the Washington Post by Theresa Vargas about the use of attack dogs in Virginia State Prisons. Gay has gathered allegations of mauling of prisoners in nine different cases over the last few years. Two of the cases are in litigation.
This practice has to stop! Virginia Corrections’ Officials should be able to maintain security in the prison without the use of attack dogs. They should be able to de-escalate conflict when tensions rise. Most importantly, the image of God should be respected in every human being including incarcerated people.
Governor Northam has the power to end the use of attack dogs to break up fights in Virginia State Prisons. Please send the following message to Gov Northam, using the comment link on his website. Urge Gov Northam to stop the use of dogs for this purpose.
After reading Theresa Vargas’ column in the Washington Post, I am calling on you to end the practice of using dogs to control incarcerated people in Virginia. Ms. Vargas’ column shows that, all too often, K-9 units have been deployed inappropriately -- after an altercation has ended or simply to instill pain and terror -- and that they have resulted in serious, permanent injuries for which prisoners received little or no treatment. Many other states and the U.S. military have banned the use of dogs to guard prisoners. Virginia should, too.
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