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Do you have examples of operational procedures for segregation units?

Many corrections systems isolate certain prisoners from the general prison population; a practice known as special management confinement or segregation. The use of isolation and segregation has increased over the years, in part as a response to the rise in prison gangs and prison violence. Depending on the system, these units are identified as restricted housing (preferred), special housing, maximum control, extended control, supermax, disciplinary housing, secured housing, close custody, administrative segregation, intensive management, and administrative maximum penitentiary or unit. The following is a list of documents, guidelines, articles, and studies that examine how restricted housing units function.

Departmental Segregation Units

Massachusetts Department of Corrections, 2017

Special Housing Units

New York Corrections and Community Supervision, 2017

Special Housing Units

Federal Bureau of Prisons, 2016

U.S. Department of Justice Report and Recommendations Concerning the Use of Restrictive Housing

U.S. Department of Justice, 2016

This Report was drafted to provide an overview of restrictive housing in the American criminal justice system and propose recommendations for safely reducing the use of this practice.

Federal Bureau of Prisons: Special Housing Unit Review and Assessment

McGinnis, Kenneth, et al., 2014

The review was designed to assess the Bureau’s use of restricted housing (SHUs, SMUs, and the ADX); identify best practices; and identify potential improvements in practice and policy.

Reassessing Solitary Confinement II: The Human Rights, Fiscal, and Public Safety Consequences

U.S. Congress, Senate. Committee on the Judiciary Subcommitee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, 2014

This webcast is the second to address issues associated with the wide use of solitary confinement in the United States. Access to this program is provided at this website. Transcripts of witness testimony are also provided from Charles E. Samuels, Jr., The Honorable Craig DeRoche, Piper Kerman, Marc Levin, Rick Raemisch, and Damon Thibodeaux, and The Honorable Dick Durbin.

Document ID: 027970

Administrative Segregation, Degrees of Isolation, and Incarceration: A National Overview of State and Federal Correctional Policies

Metcalf, Hope; et al. A Project of the Liman Public Interest Program at Yale Law School, 2013

“This report provides an overview of state and federal policies related to long-term isolation of inmates, a practice common in the United States and one that has drawn attention in recent years from many sectors. All jurisdictions in the United States provide for some form of separation of inmates from the general population. Prison administrators see the ability to separate inmates as central to protecting the safety of both inmates and staff. Yet many correctional systems are reviewing their use of segregated confinement; as controversy surrounds this form of control, its duration, and its effects” (p. 1). Sections following an overview of findings include: criteria for placement in administrative segregation; procedures and processes for placement; periodic review; and conditions, step-down programs, visitation, and degrees of isolation.

Document ID: 027420

Bureau of Prisons: Improvements Needed in Bureau of Prisons' Monitoring and Evaluation of Impact of Segregated Housing

U.S. Government Accountability Office, 2013

The segregated housing unit practices of the United States Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and compliance with them are reviewed. Sections comprising this report are: background to the investigation; Segregated Housing Unit population and number of cells have increased since Fiscal Year 2008; BOP’s monitoring of segregated housing policies varies by type of unit, and some facilities’ documentation is incomplete; BOP estimates that segregated housing costs more than housing inmates in the general population; BOP has not evaluated the impact of segregated housing units on institutional safety or the impacts of long-term segregation on inmates; concluding remarks; recommendations for Executive Action; and BOP comments and GAO evaluation. “GAO recommends that BOP (1) develop ADX-specific monitoring requirements; (2) develop a plan that clarifies how BOP will address documentation concerns GAO identified, through the new software program; (3) ensure that any current study to assess segregated housing also includes reviews of its impact on institutional safety; and (4) assess the impact of long-term segregation. BOP agreed with these recommendations and reported it would take actions to address them."

Document ID: 027354

Review of the Use of Segregation for ICE Detainees

U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), 2013

“This directive establishes policy and procedures for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) review of ICE detainees placed into segregated housing … Placement of detainees in segregated housing is a serious step that requires careful consideration of alternatives. Placement in segregation should occur only when necessary and in compliance with applicable detention standards. In particular, placement in administrative segregation due to a special vulnerability should be used only as a last resort and when no other viable housing options exist … Consistent with the agency's detention standards and relevant special housing policies, ICE shall take additional steps to ensure appropriate review and oversight of decisions to retain detainees in segregated housing for over 14 days, or placements in segregation for any length of time in the case of detainees for whom heightened concerns exist based on known special vulnerabilities and other factors related to the detainee's health or the risk of victimization” (p. 1). Sections of this policy cover: ICE division responsibilities; field review of detainee segregation status; facility compliance; ICE headquarters oversight and reporting regarding use of segregation; and training.

Administrative Segregation

Colorado Department of Corrections, 2012

This administrative regulation (AR) establishes criteria and guidelines for placing offenders on administrative segregation status. Administrative segregation is an offender management process and is not used as a punitive measure" (p. 1). Procedures cover: assignment to administrative segregation; behavior warranting administrative segregation review after admission to the DOC; multi-disciplinary staffing; administrative segregation hearings and due process; offender appeal; general conditions of confinement; progressive management; administrative segregation privilege levels; level movement; monitoring and reviews; release from administrative segregation; and administrative segregation ACA standards.

Document ID: 026424