Friends General Conference

Together we nurture the spiritual vitality of Friends
A Quaker community in Frederick, Maryland

Forum on Solitary Confinement in MD Prisons - July 24, 7-9 p.m.

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Solitary confinement places a person in isolation for 22 to 23 hours a day with one hour outside the cell for bathing and exercise. The hour outside the cell is also in isolation. The United Nations Special Rapporteur established that placing any person in isolation for more than 15 days is an act of torture.

However, recent reports about conditions in Maryland facilities include a statistic that, in 2017, 50% of all the prisoners in Maryland were in solitary confinement at least once. The average length of stay was anywhere from 30 to 50 days.   

Please join us to hear presentations from panelists who can speak to this issue from backgrounds as a former incarcerated citizen who turned his life around, a retired law enforcement official, and leader of an organization that advocates for family members directly impacted by incarceration. The panel will be moderated by Rabbi Charles Feinberg, Executive Director of Interfaith Action for Human Rights. 

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Marcus Lilly is a University of Baltimore college student and self proclaimed Transformation Advocate. As a former incarcerated citizen who has turned his life around, he also advocates for prison reform. He is the author of The Marshall Project’s article, “Finding College by Way of Prison.” He has been a guest speaker at the University of Baltimore and Georgetown University. His goal is to become a mentor and share his story of transformation with high-risk youth. Marcus is a member of the Maryland Prisoners’ Rights Coalition.

Wendell France’s career in law enforcement began in 1970 as an officer with the Baltimore Police De­partment. He served for 27 years and retired as a Commanding Officer of the Eastern District, where his leadership resulted in an overall 42% reduction in crime. He accomplished this through the introduction of community policing programs designed to address violence and its effects on at-risk youth.

In 1997, France began work with Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services as an Assistant Warden at the Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center. He later served as the Commis­sioner of the Pretrial Detention and Services Division before he rose to the position of Deputy Secretary.

France is currently President of France-Booker Consulting Group, L.L.C. He served on the Maryland Com­mission on Correctional Standards and the Governor’s Commission to Reform Maryland’s Pretrial System.

Julie Magers is the Leader of the Maryland Prisoners’ Rights Coalition (MRPC) which is a coalition gov­erned by directly impacted families and returning citizens and supported by multiple advocacy organi­zations, advocates and concerned constituents. Ms. Magers is a directly impacted family member and has been a member of the MPRC for two years becoming its Leader in 2017. She is also the President/ CEO of Justice and Recovery Advocates Inc., a non-profit organization that supports families of and sys­tems-involved individuals suffering from mental health and substance use disorders.

Rabbi Charles Feinberg (moderator) is the executive director of Interfaith Action for Human Rights. Rabbi Feinberg has served four different congregations in Wisconsin, New York, British Columbia, and Washington, DC. He is the past chairperson of the Social Action Committee of the Rabbinical Assembly and the past co-chair of T’ruah, the rabbinic call for human rights.