Laura Cain, J.D.

Laura Cain, J.D.

Laura Cain, J.D., is Managing Attorney at the Maryland Disability Law Center, the Protection and Advocacy Center for Individuals with a Mental Illness. Laura focuses her work on systemic[ issues, using both litigation and legislative advocacy tools. Laura\'s goals are to protect individuals from further harm in State psychiatric hospitals, with a particular emphasis on the eliminating the continuing harm to trauma survivors by the psychiatric system. Laura is also dedicated to eliminating forced psychiatric treatment, eliminating the use of restraint and seclusion, expanding access to housing that is separate from "treatment," and to expanding access to non-traditional or alternative supports.

A civil rights attorney by day, Laura burns the midnight oil making films as a way to reveal the humanity and beauty of people shunned or pitied by society. Her greatest hope is that her films will play a part in the creation of sane and non-violent systems that will actually help people.

“Behind Closed Doors” tells the story of Bettina, Sandy, Valerie and Tonier who have spent decades struggling to overcome childhood abuse. Retraumatized within psychiatric hospital walls, their lives continue to spiral downward into drug abuse, sexual victimization, and homelessness. Their future uncertain, they turn to a non-traditional, community program, hoping to heal. Behind Closed Doors won the ‘Best Documentary Award' at the All-American Film Festivaland was an official selection at the 2007 Maryland Film Festival and the 2007 Baltimore Women's Film Festival.

"Healing Neen" is Laura\'s latest film. After surviving a childhood of abuse and neglect, Tonier “Neen” Cain lived on the streets for two nightmarish decades, where she endured unrelenting violence, hunger and despair while racking up 66 criminal convictions related to her addiction. Incarcerated and pregnant in 2004, treatment for her lifetime of trauma offered her a way out... and up. Her story illustrates the consequences that untreated trauma has on individuals and society at-large, including mental health problems, addiction, homelessness and incarceration. Today, she is a nationally renowned speaker and educator on the devastation of trauma and the hope of recovery.