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Examining Torture: UN Expert on Torture to Discuss Solitary Confinement at Chicago's John Marshall Law School

CHICAGO, ILL., Sept. 3, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The treatment of detainees in jails and prisons in all areas of the world is receiving increased scrutiny. From anti-torture advocates to the U.S. President, stakeholders have been assessing practices including solitary confinement. Juan Méndez, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, will lead an examination of the injustices involving confinement at The John Marshall Law School.

The Sept. 17 program is being presented by the United Nations Association of the United States of America, as well as John Marshall's International Human Rights Clinic and Restorative Justice Project. The program is free, but registration is required; click here for more information.

Méndez will be joined by panelists Alan Mills, executive director of the Uptown People's Law Center; and Xavier McElrath-Bey, co-founder of Incarcerated Children's Advocacy Network and an outspoken proponent of restorative justice practices. Their discussion comes as greater light is shed on the use of solitary confinement as a means of punishment and deterrence. President Barack Obama recently became the first sitting U.S. president to tour a prison, advocating for the evaluation and reform of incarceration practices across the country.

John Marshall's IHRC has advocated against confinement and produced research detailing deficiencies in U.S. detention practices. The IHRC's report, "U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's New Directive on Segregation: Why We Need Further Protections," details the use of solitary confinement of immigrant detainees, noting that some U.S. detention facilities have been found to have the worst record on solitary.

The IHRC – joined by the Heartland Alliance's National Immigrant Justice Center – produced a similar report on the use of confinement among adults seeking safe asylum in the United States. The report found that adults seeking safe asylum in the United States can be subjected to deplorable conditions, physical, sexual and psychological violence.

About John Marshall's International Human Rights Clinic

John Marshall's International Human Rights Clinic advocates for human rights in international and domestic tribunals and other forums. The clinic provides resources and research on human rights and engages in public education and outreach. The clinic offers law students a background in human rights advocacy through the practical experience of working on international human rights cases and projects.

About John Marshall's Restorative Justice Project

The Restorative Justice Project (RJP) trains law students in restorative justice techniques, so that they become better lawyers. Students evaluate existing case law and statutes in light of restorative justice principles. They go into the community where they observe court proceedings and visit a jail or prison so they can compare retributive to restorative justice approaches in actual practice. The students then put what they have learned and observed into effect by working with high school and elementary students in a neighborhood school environment.

RJP co-directors Professor Michael Seng and Judge Sheila R. Murphy (ret.) are the editors of a recent book on the merits and successes of restorative justice, Restorative Justice in Practice: A Holistic Approach. With contributions from the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, judges, law professors and other advocates, the collection of essays surveys the different contexts in which restorative justice can be utilized in the practice of law and elsewhere.

About the United Nations Association of the United States of America – Greater Chicago Chapter

The UNA-GCC is a leading chapter of the United Nations Association of USA, a nonpartisan, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to the advancement of the U.N. cause in the United States. UNA-GCC endeavors to increase public awareness of the value and work of the United Nations. With its task forces and activities, UNA-Chicago strives to build public support for the fundamental concepts of the United Nations: multilateralism and international cooperation.

UNA-GCC sponsors a variety of activities to improve Chicagoans' understanding of the U.N., as well as encourages U.S. leadership and commitment to the U.N.

CONTACT:Christine Kraly 312-427-2737 x 171Source: The John Marshall Law School-Chicago