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‘Torture in your Backyard’

Lawyers and law professors examine solitary confinement 
 
REMSEN STREET Tonight, the Social Justice Committee of The Oratory Church of St. Boniface will screen the documentary, “Solitary Confinement: Torture in Your Backyard,” as well as conduct a presentation and panel discussion at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights.
 
The event will feature noted experts regarding prolonged solitary confinement. The documentary was created by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. 
 
Presenters include Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster, the director of North American Programs for Rabbis for Human Rights-North America; Sarah Kerr, a staff attorney at the Prisoners’ Rights Project of The Legal Aid Society in New York City; and Professor Michael B. Mushlin, from Pace University School of Law. David Stoelting, author of “Supermax Confinement in U.S. Prisons,” will moderate the panel.
 
Rabbi Kahn-Troster will speak about our issue from the faith perspective. Prof. Mushlin will examine prolonged solitary confinement from the legal perspective. And Kerr will speak about solitary confinement as it affects individuals with mental illness and will speak about the reforms that have occurred in the New York state prisons based on litigation, lobbying and legislative efforts.
 
In addition to the film and panel, a question and answer period will also be featured. Attendees will have the opportunity to take action on this issue. After the film, the panelists will discuss the crushing and long-term impact extensive solitary confinement has on prisoners’ mental and physical health.
 
Since 1994, Kerr has worked at The Legal Aid Society’s Prisoners' Rights Project litigating complex federal court civil rights cases, which challenge human rights abuses experienced by persons confined in jail and prisons. Her work focuses on the treatment of prisoners with mental illness.
 
Kerr is an adjunct professor teaching a course on “Mental Health Issues in Jails and Prisons” at New York Law School in the Mental Disability Law Program.
 
Professor Mushlin teaches civil procedure, evidence, and prisoners' rights at Pace University School of Law. He is the author of law review articles on a variety of subjects involving evidence, federal jurisdiction, civil procedure, children's rights, and prisoners' rights that have appeared in journals such as the Yale Law and Policy Review, UCLA Law Review, Harvard Civil Rights Civil Liberties Law Review, Brooklyn Law Review, and the Fordham Urban Law Journal. 
 
Date:  Thursday, May 31
Time: 7-9 p.m. 
Location: St. Francis College, Founders Hall, 182 Remsen St., Brooklyn Heights
 
May 31, 2012 - 10:10am


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