About Sarah Shourd

Sarah Shourd is an author, prisoner rights advocate, Contributing Editor at Solitary Watch, and a Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley—currently based in Oakland, California.

Why The U.S. Won’t Let the U.N. Look Inside Its Prisons

n 2010, Juan Mendez was appointed Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Degrading and Inhumane Treatment by the United Nations. His mandate is wide in size and scope—to expose and document torture wherever it exists on the planet today. Since the beginning of his mandate Mendez has made criticizing the overuse of solitary confinement a priority. In 2011, he issued a report stating that 22 or 23 hours a day alone in a prison cell for more than 15 days at a time can cause permanent, … [Read more...]

At Hearing on Solitary Confinement in California Prisons, Advocates Challenge “Reforms”

e’re here to question the existence and effects of the SHU,” stated California Assembly Member Tom Ammiano recently, “and we don’t think this new proposed policy goes nearly far enough.” Ammiano, who chairs the Assembly’s Public Safety Committee, was speaking at the second joint California Assembly-Senate hearing on the use of solitary confinement, including SHUs (Security Housing Units), in the state’s prisons. Representatives from California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation … [Read more...]