Survivors of long-term solitary confinement to speak on panel | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Survivors of long-term solitary confinement to speak on panel

click to enlarge Survivors of long-term solitary confinement to speak on panel
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Solitary confinement survivors Sarah Shourd (left) and Arthur Cetewayo Johnson (right)
Straight Ahead, the legislative arm of advocacy group Abolitionist Law Center, is hosting a virtual panel this week on ending solitary confinement in Pennsylvania prisons. The End of Isolation panel, which will be held at 6 p.m. on Thu., June 9, will feature two survivors of prolonged solitary confinement, Sarah Shourd and Arthur Cetewayo Johnson.

Johnson was wrongfully incarcerated in Pennsylvania prisons for 51 years, during which he was confined to solitary for 38 consecutive years and spent 44 years in solitary confinement in total.

In 2009, Shourd was one of three American hikers arrested by Iranian authorities after unknowingly crossing the Iran-Iraq border. She spent 410 days in solitary confinement in Iran. After her release, Shourd traveled the country researching solitary confinement in American prisons before writing The Box, a play about solitary confinement.

According to the event description, Johnson and Shourd will discuss their time in solitary confinement and how they work creatively to end solitary in Pennsylvania and across the country. Register to attend the panel here.

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By Mars Johnson