Boston College Law Magazine has an amazing profile of our legal director, Zach Heiden, and his work to reform solitary confinement in Maine. The article perfectly demonstrates Zach's brilliant advocacy combined with his grit and stamina. It's also a good reminder of the value in taking a step back to reflect on how much we really can make change - and that we should stay the course, even when skeptics suggest it's time to call it a day.
According to the article:
Heiden was ahead of the prison reform curve on this issue. A year after he became the first staff attorney of the ACLU of Maine in 2004, he teamed up with the ACLU’s National Prison Project and started advocating on behalf of mentally ill prisoners held in solitary. Courts across the country were ruling that placing mentally ill prisoners in long-term solitary confinement violated the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment, but it would be years before the call for reform on solitary policy for all prisoners started gaining momentum across the country. That momentum got an extra push from a report that Heiden generated about the successes he and his colleagues have seen through in Maine.
You can read that report, and more about our efforts to reform solitary, here.
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