Sarah Shourd is a journalist, UC Berkley Visiting Scholar and a
Contributing Editor at Solitary Watch. She was living in the Middle
East, teaching Iraqi refugees and living in a Palestinian refugee camp
in Syria, when she was captured by Iranian forces somewhere along an
unmarked border between Iran and Iraq in July '09 and held
incommunicado in solitary confinement for 410 days. Her advocacy,
writing and theatre work now focuses largely on the practice of
solitary confinement in U.S. prisons. Her memoir with Shane Bauer and
Josh Fattal about their experience as hostages in Iran, A Sliver of
Light, was published in March 2014. For more see:


America's prison-industrial complex incentivizes imprisonment and disproportionately hurts minorities. Now, pols are vowing to end it. But what will that actually look like?

‘War-Like Mentality’

Despite a new settlement that bans indefinite solitary confinement in California, prisons are finding new secondary excuses to lengthen time in the SHU.


Ever since the Navy implemented a new participatory theater program to show sailors when to turn in a peer or superior for sexual assault, reporting is higher than ever.

New Deal

I was a hostage in Iran for over a year, and I'm certain my release was part of a larger deal. Still, I believe this one with Iran is necessary—and encouraging news for American hostages still in the country.

Cruel and Unusual

After a half-decade and a mandate by the U.N. to investigate solitary confinement practices, U.N. torture rapporteur Juan Mendez had to find a backdoor into an American jail.

Death Spiral

As Israel mourns its politicians vow retribution. Hamas threatens to “open the gates of hell.” Could U.S. diplomacy have prevented the tragedy? The sad fact: it didn’t.