Last month, WUSA9 Reporter Andrea McCarren broke the story of Paul Smith, a young man with mental illness who has been held in solitary confinement for 4 years at North Branch Correctional Institution (NBCI) in Cumberland, Maryland. During the past two years, Paul has been banned from phone calls and visits from his parents. We encourage you to view the news coverage of Paul’s experience and what it reveals about the realities of mental illness and solitary confinement, and to take action. A follow-up story featuring Paul’s brother can be found here. The psychological and physical impact of prolonged solitary confinement are well-documented, and as people of faith, we have a critical role to play in halting its use. Ending prolonged solitary confinement in Maryland starts with your signature! The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) is gathering endorsements from people of faith for a statement calling on government officials all across the country to take steps to end the use of prolonged solitary confinement. When we reach 500 endorsers from a particular state, we send the statement, along with the list of those endorsers, to that state’s governor and top corrections official, along with every member of that state’s legislature. If we subsequently reach 1000 endorsers in the state, we will send the list again – and so on. Compelled by the reality of Paul’s story, now is the time to take action in Maryland. We urge you to sign and share the NRCAT Statement Against Solitary today.
Thank you for your commitment to end torture in U.S. prisons,
Laura Markle Downton
Director of U.S. Prisons Policy and Program
National Religious Campaign Against Torture