MCLU honors trio’s work against solitary confinement

From: Kennebec Journal

Kennebec Journal Staff
Oct 14th 2010

Three people have been recognized by the Maine Civil Liberties Union for their campaign to end solitary confinement in Maine.

Recipients are the Rev. Stan Moody of Manchester, Dr. Janis Petzel, of Hallowell and Emily Posner, formerly of Montville,

The 2010 Roger Baldwin Award will be presented during the 2010 MCLU annual meeting, which is free and open to the public and begins at 7 p.m. Friday 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,” MCLU Executive Director Shenna Bellows said in a prepared statement. “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 state.”

Moody, a pastor in Manchester, served as a chaplain at the Maine State Prison for two years and testified before legislators about conditions in Maine’s solitary confinement units. He is a board member of the Maine Prison Industries Council, a former state legislator and author of “Crisis in Evangelical Scholarship” and “McChurched: 300 Million Served and Still Hungry.”

Petzel, in her role as then-President of the Maine Association of Psychiatric Physicians testified to legislators about the psychological effects of solitary confinement on prisoners.

She works on issues of access to mental health services, particularly in prisons; and practices psychiatry in Hallowell and at the Togus Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Posner is a student at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law who initiated the legislation to reform solitary confinement in Maine. Her work resulted from her correspondence, begun in 2008, with Herman Wallace, who spent 38 years in solitary confinement at Angola State Penitentiary in Louisiana.

Guest speaker at the annual meeting will be David Fathi, director of the ACLU National Prison Project.

Baldwin helped found the American Civil Liberties Union and was its director until 1950.