Three Mainers, all activists for prisoner-rights, will be honored by the Maine Civil Liberties Union on Friday, with the MCLU's Roger Baldwin Award, named for a co-founder of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Reverend Stan Moody (a former prison chaplain and former state legislator), Dr. Janis Petzel (president of the Maine Association of Psychiatric Physicians), and Emily Posner (with the Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition) are being recognized "for their extraordinary contributions to the campaign to end solitary confinement in Maine," according to an MCLU press release.
We've certainly covered their work quite a bit - including with this piece back in April.
Congratulations to them - we are sure they'll keep up their hard and good work.
Award Recognizes Prisoner Rights Advocates
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Shenna Bellows or Zachary Heiden, 774-5444
Civil Liberties Union will proudly present the 2010 Roger Baldwin Award to Reverend
Stan Moody of Manchester, Dr. Janis Petzel of Hallowell and Emily
Posner formerly of Montville for their extraordinary contributions to the
campaign to end solitary confinement in Maine at the 2010 MCLU Annual Meeting &
Celebration on October 15 at 7 P.M. at the Wells Conference Center at the
University of Maine.
"Our Baldwin Award honorees worked tirelessly to secure
protections for one of our most vulnerable populations - prisoners," said
MCLU Executive Director Shenna Bellows. "They gave a
public voice to what so many of us continue to hope for - a time when no
American is subjected to cruel and unusual punishment at the hands of the
Reverend Stan Moody served as a chaplain at the Maine
State Prison for two years. During the public hearing for LD 1611,
Representative Jim Schatz's (D - Blue Hill) bill that would have
limited the use of solitary confinement in Maine prisons, Reverend Moody
provided powerful firsthand accounts to legislators of the conditions in Maine's
solitary confinement units. He serves as a pastor in Manchester, Maine and is
a board member of the Maine Prison Industries Council. He is a former Maine State
Representative and author of Crisis in
Evangelical Scholarship and McChurched:
300 Million Served and Still Hungry.
Dr. Janis Petzel, M.D., worked during the solitary
confinement campaign to mobilize the medical community in her role as
then-President of the Maine Association of Psychiatric Physicians (MAPP). During
the public hearing, she provided powerful expert testimony to legislators about
the psychological effects of solitary confinement on prisoners. Petzel
continues to work on issues of access to mental health services, particularly
in prisons, as chair of MAPP's Legislative and Governmental Affairs
Committee. She practices psychiatry in Hallowell and at the Togus Veterans Affairs
Medical Center in Augusta.
Emily Posner is a student and advocate who initiated
the legislation to reform solitary confinement in Maine. In 2008, Posner began
corresponding with Herman Wallace, a prisoner who has spent 38 years in
solitary confinement at the notorious Angola State Penitentiary in Louisiana. Inspired by this
relationship, Emily worked with her Representative to draft legislation. As a
volunteer, she spent countless hours at the State House to lobby and organize
for the bill. She now studies at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law.
"Reverend Moody, Dr. Petzel, and Ms. Posner have shown the
leadership and the commitment that will be necessary to achieve lasting prison
reform," said MCLU Legal Director Zachary Heiden. "When we finally
bring about an end to solitary confinement in Maine, it will be
because of the leadership shown by clergy, doctors, and community activists."
David Fathi, Director of the ACLU National Prison Project, will be the
featured speaker for the event. The Prison Project brings challenges to
conditions of confinement in prisons, jails and other detention facilities and
works to end US overreliance on incarceration. Fathi has special
expertise in challenging "supermax" prisons, where prisoners are
held for months or years at a time in conditions of near-total isolation. He
has lectured national and internationally on criminal justice issues. His op-eds
have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Houston Chronicle, and
other major media outlets. He is a graduate of the University of Washington
and the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley.
The MCLU award is named for Roger Baldwin, an ardent activist for
social justice who helped found the American Civil Liberties Union, and served
as its Director until 1950. During his term as director, the ACLU took on many
of its most famous cases, including the Scopes "Monkey trial" in Tennessee
where school officials had challenged the teaching of evolution, and the "Scottsboro
Boys" cases that established the right to counsel in state criminal
proceedings and standards for fair juries. Baldwin remained active in the
cause of civil rights and civil liberties until his death in 1981 at the age of
97. Among his many achievements, Baldwin was invited by Gen. Douglas MacArthur
to travel to Japan to help ensure the protection of civil liberties as the
country wrote its constitution.
The MCLU Annual Meeting & Celebration will be held in the Wells
Conference Center at the University of Maine on Friday, October 15th.
The event, scheduled to begin at 7 P.M., is free and open to the public, but an
RSVP is encouraged. Appetizers and light refreshments will be on hand.
For more information or to schedule an interview with a Baldwin
honoree or David Fathi, please call Edward Reilly at 774-5444.