Who is Rick Raemisch and Why is He Coming to First Congregational on September 23?

Rick Raemisch is the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Corrections and the leading advocate for the reform of solitary confinement in this country. He is coming to First Congregational to be the keynote speaker at the celebration of the Tenth Anniversary of The Prison Ministry Project.
His op-ed piece in the New York Times about the night he spent in solitary has transformed the debate over the use of solitary confinement in American prisons. Check out  My Night in Solitary http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/21/opinion/my-night-in-solitary.html?_r=0
He has been the leader of the Colorado Department of Corrections since July 2013; but he began his career in law enforcement as a deputy sheriff here in Dane County and was then elected to four terms as the Republican Sheriff of Dane County. In 2007, Governor Jim Doyle appointed Raemisch to be the Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, where he served until the election of Scott Walker.
At the end of his night in solitary confinement Raemisch said, "When I finally left my cell at 3 p.m., I felt even more urgency for reform. If we can't eliminate solitary confinement, at least we can strive to greatly reduce its use. Knowing that 97 percent of inmates are ultimately returned to their communities, doing anything less would be both counterproductive and inhumane."
On September 23, in addition to the address by Rick Raemisch, we will be showing a preview of the HBO documentary Solitary. A review of the film by Dan Hunt of the TriBeca Film Festival notes that "There are 100,000 US citizens in solitary confinement across the country, a staggering number prompting comment from both President Obama and the Pope. Situated in rural Virginia, 300 miles from any urban center, Red Onion State Prison is one of over 40 supermax prisons across the US built to hold prisoners in eight-by-ten-foot cells for 23 hours a day. With unprecedented access, director Kristi Jacobson offers a revealing and moving portrait of life inside solitary confinement. Filmed over the course of one year, this eye-opening film braids stark prison imagery, stories from correction officers, and intimate reflections from the men who are locked up in isolation. The inmates share the paths that led them to prison and their daily struggles to maintain their sanity. Through the moving stories of the people who are immersed in this system, Solitary offers a rare window into life on both sides of the bars and prompts challenging core questions about punishment in America today."
Please save the date for this important evening. Times will be announced soon.
~ Jerry Hancock

Posted on August 2, 2016 at 10:22 am in Featured Content.

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