Over the last two decades Sharon conducted research in the American ‘supermax’ prisons and in high security prisons and segregation (solitary confinement) units across Europe, Canada, New Zealand, and England and Wales.She also acts as an independent consultant on prison conditions, human rights and the use of solitary confinement and other forms of restraint in prisons and other places where people are deprived of their liberty.

In late 2016 Sharon was invited by New Zealand's National Preventative Mechanism (NPM) bodies, with funding from the UN, to conduct a review of seclusion and restraint practices across different detention contexts (police, mental health units, prisons, children and young people's residences) in New Zealand. The ensuing report, "Thinking outside the box? Review of seclusion and restraint practices in New Zealand" was published by New Zealand's Human Rights Commission in 2017.

In 2020 she was invited to conduct a follow-up review of solitary confinement and restraint practices in New Zealand. Findings of the follow-up review were published in December 2020 in a report titled 'Time for a paradigm change: a follow up review of seclusion and restraint practices in New Zealand'.

She is currently working on two projects. One is a spotlight report, invited by the New Zealand Human Rights Commission, on use of solitary confinement for women. This report follows the finding in 'Time for a paradigm change' that women in New Zealand three prison for women, and in particular Māori women, were segregated (placed in solitary confinement) at a higher rate than men, and were subjected to high use of force.

The second project, currently in development, will map the use of solitary confinement internationally. The project will seek to investigate both the law and practice of the use of solitary confinement around the world. It is envisaged that this complex project will be undertaken in collaboration with several bodies and individuals, both academics and practitioners.