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The Worst of the Worst: A Film on Human Rights and Legal Issues of Solitary Confinement


October 16, 2013
12:45 pm - 2:30 pm
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Room 180, Law School, Crown Building
559 Nathan Abbott Way,Stanford University,
Stanford, CA, 94305,

Film screening and discussion with co-directors Valarie Kaur (Stanford BA ’03, International Relations and Religious Studies) and Sharat Raju. Co-sponsored by the Center for Human Rights (Stanford Law School), the Criminal Justice Center (Stanford Law School), the McCoy Family Program for Ethics in Society, the Office of Religious Life, the Department of Religious Studies, and Stanford student groups NAACP and STATIC. Free and open to the public.

Over 25,000 prisoners in the US are held in isolation, typically spending 22.5 hours a day in a tiny cell, the other 1.5 hour exercising alone.  Many are kept this way for years with no one to talk to and nothing to do.  At California’s Pelican Bay, where 1200 men are in high-tech solitary, inmates are currently on hunger strike to protest the conditions of their confinement.  “The Worst of the Worst” is a 25-minute film that depicts Connecticut’s sole supermax prison. Interviews with experts and administrators are interwoven with the powerful stories of inmates and correctional officers who spend their days within the walls.

Valarie Kaur is a 2003 Stanford graduate, 2012 Yale Law graduate, and founder of the Yale Visual Law Project.  After majoring in Religious Studies and International Relations at Stanford, she went to Harvard Divinity School for a master’s degree in Theological Studies. She was the main speaker at Stanford’s 2013 Baccalaureate ceremony–the youngest person ever invited to give that address.

Sharat Raju is a graduate of the University of Michigan. Sharat lives in New Haven, Connecticut where he teaches filmmaking at the Yale University Visual Law Project. He began his career as an assistant to Mali Finn working on a variety films including The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, and 8 Mile..