Shirene Hansotia

South Carolina Director of Root & Rebound

South Carolina

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Shirene is the State Director of R&R’s South Carolina office. After law school, Shirene clerked with a circuit court judge for a year in South Carolina, before joining the Charleston County Public Defender’s Office. She loved working as a public defender, a job that merges the fields of law and social work in defending the most vulnerable people in society: individuals struggling with mental health challenges, addiction issues, and past physical, sexual and emotional traumas. While she loved her work as a public defender, she felt frustrated by the draconian sentencing and abysmal conditions inside South Carolina prisons; so she sought to bring about structural changes within the state. She joined the ACLU of South Carolina as their Criminal Justice Policy Counsel, where she lobbied state leaders; litigated cases to reform the state prisons; worked with state media to elevate prison issues; and advocated on behalf of sentencing and prison policy reforms. She continues that work today as the State Director of Root + Rebound of South Carolina.

Shirene earned her undergraduate degrees in Journalism, Political Science and African Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and her Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Administration with a specialty in African Development from Michigan State University. While at MSU, she was one of ten Ford Foundation grantees to study community development work in Chicago and was chosen as the first Presidential Management Intern, a fast-track to management within the federal government.  Shirene has worked for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the San Francisco area, and as an undercover analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) before returning to law school to pursue her real passion.

Shirene Hansotia

South Carolina Director of Root & Rebound

South Carolina

Email Shirene

Shirene is the State Director of R&R’s South Carolina office. After law school, Shirene clerked with a circuit court judge for a year in South Carolina, before joining the Charleston County Public Defender’s Office. She loved working as a public defender, a job that merges the fields of law and social work in defending the most vulnerable people in society: individuals struggling with mental health challenges, addiction issues, and past physical, sexual and emotional traumas. While she loved her work as a public defender, she felt frustrated by the draconian sentencing and abysmal conditions inside South Carolina prisons; so she sought to bring about structural changes within the state. She joined the ACLU of South Carolina as their Criminal Justice Policy Counsel, where she lobbied state leaders; litigated cases to reform the state prisons; worked with state media to elevate prison issues; and advocated on behalf of sentencing and prison policy reforms. She continues that work today as the State Director of Root + Rebound of South Carolina.

Shirene earned her undergraduate degrees in Journalism, Political Science and African Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and her Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Administration with a specialty in African Development from Michigan State University. While at MSU, she was one of ten Ford Foundation grantees to study community development work in Chicago and was chosen as the first Presidential Management Intern, a fast-track to management within the federal government.  Shirene has worked for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the San Francisco area, and as an undercover analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) before returning to law school to pursue her real passion.

Why do you come to work at Root & Rebound every day?

I come to work at Root & Rebound every day because I believe Bryan Stevenson’s mantra that everyone is more than the worst thing they have ever done. Through my work, I have learned that prisons house the most neglected, mistreated and forgotten people in society. This was often the case before they were sent to prison; and remains the case while they are sheltered from society in prisons and subjected to inhumane conditions. I hope to help shine a spotlight on the damage we inflict on people in prisons by depriving them of adequate medical and mental health care; and sufficient educational and vocational opportunities to prepare them for success upon reentry.