Regunberg Fundraiser At Wild Colonial

(3.9) Here’s an upside to mass incarceration — with roughly 2.5 million Americans locked up nearly everybody now knows someone who has been, or is now, in prison. Perhaps this has increased awareness of the horrors of solitary confinement, because getting folks to care about the problems of criminals is not easy. It takes political courage and a good heart. One Rhode Island legislator who wants to address this issue is Democratic state rep for District 4, Aaron Regunberg.

Regunberg has introduced legislation seeking to limit the isolation of inmates to 15 days at a time. The Washington Post recently ran an article about his efforts.

The bill, sponsored in the state Senate by Metts and in the House by Rep. Aaron Regunberg, both Providence Democrats, is part of a broader national prison reform movement picking up in states from Colorado to Mississippi.

The Rhode Island bill also would ban solitary confinement for the youngest and oldest inmates, the mentally disabled and other vulnerable groups.

Prison officials say the proposal would take away the discretion they need to maintain a safe environment.

In the article, R.I. Department of Corrections Director A.T. Wall describes the practice — called “administrative segregation” at the ACI — as not one of “extreme isolation” and sometimes necessary for safety.  It must be said that Mr. Wall enjoys a reputation as one of the nation’s most enlightened prison officials, and he did after all bring the AP reporter and photographer in to take a look at the facility.

Regunberg is also concerned with environmental issues (check out his Facebook page). but, like every other legislator in the world, he needs money. And he ‘s smart enough to know that holding a fundraiser at the Wild Colonial is the best way to get people to show up. Donations of $25, $50, $75 are welcome, or whatever you can afford. (I just scanned the list of the people on his host committee — these are good peeps.)

6pm to 9pm, Wednesday, March 9th, Wild Colonial Tavern, 250 South Water Street, (directions)

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