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Administrative segregation

"This collection of materials, which was provided as a starting point for the discussion, describes current patterns of incarceration and explores interventions designed to reduce the degree to which correctional facilities maintain order through the isolation of prisoners, both through the locating of prison facilities and the placement of people within them."

The text is divided into three chapters. Chapter 1. Isolation by Place and by Rule--Mapping Prison Placements, the Impact of Gender, and the Challenges of Distance: the power of placement; law and placement; locating and relocating prisons; attending to difference; and bridging distances—the cost of contact. Living Together or Apart--Isolation in Place, Oversight, and Alternatives: policies and practices for segregation placement and programs; inclusion, exclusion, and subpopulations; reassessing segregation; and legitimacy and authority in prions. And The Political Economies of Change--Setting Agendas: getting out of where we are—framing how and why we got here; reformatting prison practices—a snapshot of the current spending paradigm, the "reinvestment paradigm", and prisons as providers of social services and education's potential and political freight; and oversight outside prison.

Isolation and Reintegration: Punishment Circa 2014|Revised

"The purpose of this guide is to provide prison and jail administrators and staff with strategies for safely housing inmates at risk of sexual abuse without isolating them. Inmates at risk for sexual victimization—whether identified through screening or victimized in confinement—need protection from abusers, equal access to programming and health and mental health services, and congregate opportunities" (p. 3). Sections of this document include: introduction; a brief look at the use of segregated housing and protective custody in the U.S.; why the use of segregation matters—conditions, impacts, and fiscal costs of isolation; managing people who screen at risk for sexual abuse in general population—incorporating PREA screening requirements into internal classification systems, using case management systems to manage vulnerable inmates, open housing units in general population, mission-specific housing, and key considerations for managing people who screen at risk for sexual abuse in general population; managing particularly high-risk populations—women, youthful inmates, LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex) inmates (e.g., targeted intake and screening, housing and programming placement, monitoring and safety, and commitment and training); and conclusion.

Keeping Vulnerable Populations Safe under PREA: Alternative Strategies to the Use of Segregation in Prisons and Jails Cover

If you are looking for a balanced approach to the use of solitary confinement by prisons then this program is for you. The strength of this film is that it presents an excellent look at the extremely difficult working conditions correctional officers face in managing inmates in segregation while it also shows why inmates end up in solitary and how inmates react to this segregation. Topics discussed include: the flooding of the unit; extraction of a self-abusive inmate who has seriously cut himself; reasons inmates are housed in segregation--judged too dangerous to be around other people, for their own protection, or for disruptive behavior; passing of notes between cells; cleaning/disinfecting a cell of blood; the use of solitary confinement as reform in the 1800s till it was determined it drove the prisoners mad; the reemergence of segregation in the 1980s to stamp out violence in institutions; states are rethinking use of segregation; senior prison staff concerns about releasing some of extremely dangerous inmates into the general population; inmate manipulation; the mental health unit; tough choices on who to release--leave inmates in too long potential to make them more disturbed, yet move out soon they could endanger staff, other prisoners, or themselves; and the step down unit transferring individuals from solitary to general population—beginning with a lot of restrictions that are reduced as good behavior is exhibited. This film contains scenes of self-harm and violence.

Locked Up In America: Solitary Nation Cover

Your agency might consider this amazingly innovative strategy or a similar one for addressing mental health in your supermax or administrative segregation units. "Prison officials across the United States have spent the last few years debating how to help tens of thousands of prisoners cope in solitary confinement, the housing of last resort for violent, combative, or escape-prone inmates. Many human rights groups condemn the highly restrictive cells as an incubator for mental illness. About 19 months ago, Snake River officials turned for help from an offbeat source, a globetrotting forest ecologist more familiar with the canopies of Costa Rica's rainforests than the internal struggles of prisoners kept month after month in isolated quarters. What emerged was a one-of-a-kind sanctuary known as the Blue Room. Inside a converted recreation room, prisoners deprived of wind and sunsets and trees can reconnect with sights and sounds of the natural world. A video projector casts images against a wall: Big Sur, a brook in a dark forest, a tropical beach and 30 other nature videos. The plan to calm prisoners and make them less violent shows promise." This article explains how a 5-minute TED (Technology, Education, Design) talk by Nalini Nadkarni resulted in the development and implementation of the Blue Room which is located in the IMU (Intensive Management Unit) – a 20 tier contained section of the Snake River Correctional Institution. The costs for this program run about $1,500. While the data is preliminary, the rate of disciplinary infractions is higher for those inmates who did not use the Blue Room compared to the rate for those inmates who did.

Oregon Prison Tackles Solitary Confinement with Blue Room Experiment Cover

“This report examines past and continued use of solitary confinement by the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) to manage mentally ill prisoners; considers the moral, fiscal, safety and legal implications of CDOC’s continued warehousing of mentally ill prisoners in solitary confinement; and makes recommendations to bring Colorado’s prisons in line with modern psychiatric, correctional and legal standards” (p. 1). Sections following an executive summary include: key facts and findings; policy recommendations; introduction; background; seriously mentally ill prisoners living in isolation-- “Case Study: Descent into Madness”; discipline of mentally ill prisoners in solitary confinement—“Case Study: The Tower of Power”; out-of-cell time for mentally ill prisoners; mental health staffing levels; conclusion and final recommendations; and photos of administrative segregation at CSP (Colorado State Penitentiary). “While the Residential Treatment Program was initiated in early 2013 as a means of providing intensive mental health care to prisoners with the most significant mental health needs, CDOC continues to resort to solitary confinement to manage many mentally ill prisoners” (p. 1).

Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Colorado’s Continued Warehousing of Mentally Ill Prisoners in Solitary Confinement Cover

"Critics say it’s expensive, ineffective and even dangerous, but the U.S. puts more people in prolonged isolation than most other countries in the world. Now, some officials at the state and federal level are beginning to review the practice. FRONTLINE brought together some of these officials for a conversation about the use of solitary confinement in the state and federal prison system today. We wanted to understand what’s happening on the ground, what works, what doesn’t, and what the future looks like for America’s prisons." The corrections professionals involved in this roundtable are Jim Austin, Bob Hood, and Bernie Warner. Topics discussed include: how inmates get placed in segregated housing; litigation resulting in legislative changes; special administrative measures (SAMs); length of stay; release back into the general population; gang influence; and the future.

Podcast: How to Fix America's Solitary Problem Cover

"A growing body of evidence suggests that the overuse of solitary confinement and other forms of restrictive housing in U.S. correctional systems undermines public safety and is contrary to our Nation's values … a final report [was] transmitted to me [President Obama] on January 25, 2016 (DOJ Report and Recommendations Concerning the Use of Restrictive Housing) (the "DOJ Report") at, that sets forth specific policy recommendations for DOJ with respect to the Federal Bureau of Prisons and other DOJ entities as well as more general guiding principles for all correctional systems. As the DOJ Report makes clear, although occasions exist when correctional officials have no choice but to segregate inmates from the general population, this action has the potential to cause serious, long-lasting harm. The DOJ Report accordingly emphasizes the responsibility of Government to ensure that this practice is limited, applied with constraints, and used only as a measure of last resort. Given the urgency and importance of this issue, it is critical that DOJ accelerate efforts to reduce the number of Federal inmates and detainees held in restrictive housing and that Federal correctional and detention systems be models for facilities across the United States." Directions for the swift implementation of the DOJ Report's recommendations for addressing the overuse of solitary confinement in correctional and detention systems in the United States are organized into to three sections: Sec. 1--Implementation of the DOJ Report; Sec. 2-- General Provisions; and Sec. 3--Publication.

Presidential Memorandum -- Limiting the Use of Restrictive Housing by the Federal Government Cover

"Restrictive housing, sometimes known as administrative segregation, is the practice of housing some inmates separately from the general population of a correctional institution and imposing restrictions on their movement, behavior, and privileges." This compilation of answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ) informs the reader about the concerns surrounding the use of restrictive housing (aka administrative housing, departmental segregation, and security housing units). Topics covered are: what restrictive housing is and how it works; why it is used; what the conditions are in restrictive housing; whether restrictive housing is different from solitary confinement; the commonality of restrictive housing use and whether its population is growing; why it is controversial; the fiscal impact of restrictive housing; and the impact of restrictive housing on mental health.

restrictive housing faq cover

Resources about the use of restricted housing are provided and organized according to: resources from NIC; prevalence of restrictive housing; governing practices and policies; the basis for and process involved in determining whether, and for how long, someone is placed in special housing; conditions of confinement—juveniles, and female offenders; research—effects of prolonged confinement; legislation and litigation impacts; programming and reentry-focused services; availability of medical and mental health services; safe alternatives and step-down programs; Resources about the use of restrictive housing are provided and organized according to: resources from NIC; prevalence of restrictive housing; governing practices and policies; the basis for and process involved in determining whether, and for how long, someone is placed in special housing; conditions of confinement—juveniles, and female offenders; research—effects of prolonged confinement; litigation; programming and reentry-focused services; availability of medical and mental health services; safe alternatives and step-down programs.

Restrictive Housing Cover

The use of Restrictive Housing poses some of the most challenging questions facing corrections professionals: How should correctional agencies manage their most violent and disruptive inmates? How can they best protect their most vulnerable and victimized ones? And what is the safest and most humane way to do so?

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) define “restrictive housing” as a form of housing that involves three basic elements: removal from the general inmate population, whether voluntary or involuntary; placement in a locked room or cell, whether alone or with another inmate; and inability to leave the room or cell for the vast majority of the day, typically 22 hours or more. Restrictive housing takes many forms, and an inmate’s experience can vary considerably depending on certain external factors, such as length of stay, conditions of confinement, and degree of social isolation, as well as factors specific to each inmate, such as age and psychological resiliency.

This training broadcast will: examine restrictive housing practices in your agency and compare and contrast those with the DOJ Guiding Principles; explore the Guiding Principles and implications for restrictive housing practice and conditions of confinement; use interactive activities and action planning to determine strategies for your agency to safely reduce the use of restrictive housing in your agency; and share promising practices and recommendations for the implementation of the Guiding Principles. This broadcast will answer the following questions: How should prisons and other correctional facilities manage their most violent and dangerous inmates? How can they best protect their most vulnerable and victimized inmates? What is the safest and most humane way to do so? Why did the Department of Justice create a set of Guiding Principles on the effective use of Restrictive Housing? How can we use the DOJ Guiding Principles to self-evaluate our current agency practice?

Restrictive Housing Facilitator Guide Cover


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