Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2286861
 


 



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


Hope Metcalf


Yale Law School

Jamelia Morgan


Independent

Samuel Oliker-Friedland


Independent

Judith Resnik


Yale University - Law School

Julia Spiegel


Independent

Haran Tae


Yale University - Law School

Alyssa Roxanne Work


Independent

Brian Holbrook


Independent

June 1, 2013

Yale Law School, Public Law Working Paper No. 301

Abstract:     
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.

The debates about these practices are reflected in the terms used, with different audiences taking exceptions to each. Much of the recent public discussion calls the practice “solitary confinement” or “isolation.” In contrast, correctional facility policies use terms such as “segregation,” “restricted housing,” or “special management,” and some corrections leaders prefer the term “separation.”

All agree that the practice entails separating inmates from the general population and restricting their participation in everyday activities; such as recreation, shared meals, and religious, educational, and other programs. The degree of contact permitted — with staff, other inmates, or volunteers — varies. Some jurisdictions provide single cells and others double; in some settings, inmates find ways to communicate with each other. The length of time spent in isolation can vary from a few days to many years.

This report provides a window into these practices. This overview describes rules promulgated by prison officials to structure decisions on the placement of persons in “administrative segregation,” which is one form of separation of inmates from the general population. Working with the Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA), the Arthur Liman Program at Yale Law School launched an effort to review the written policies related to administrative segregation promulgated by correctional systems in the United States. With ASCA’s assistance, we obtained policies from 47 jurisdictions, including 46 states and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

This overview provides a national portrait of policies governing administrative segregation for individuals in prisons, outlines the commonalities and variations among jurisdictions, facilitates comparisons across jurisdictions, and enables consideration of how and when administrative segregation is and should be used. Because this review is of written policies, it raises many questions for research – about whether the policies are implemented as written, achieve the goals for which they are crafted, and at what costs. Information is needed on the demographic data on the populations held in various forms of segregated custody, the reasons for placement of individuals in and the duration of such confinement, the views of inmates, of staff on site, and of central office personnel; and the long-term effects of administrative segregation on prison management and on individuals. Without such insights, one cannot assess the experiences of segregation from the perspectives of those who run, those who work in, and those who live in these institutions.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 64

Keywords: prisons, corrections, correctional management, correctional administration, penology, solitary confinement, administrative segregation, restricted housing, prison administration, prison reform, corrections reform

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Date posted: July 1, 2013 ; Last revised: September 19, 2013

Suggested Citation

Metcalf, Hope and Morgan, Jamelia and Oliker-Friedland, Samuel and Resnik, Judith and Spiegel, Julia and Tae, Haran and Work, Alyssa Roxanne and Holbrook, Brian, Administrative Segregation, Degrees of Isolation, and Incarceration: A National Overview of State and Federal Correctional Policies (June 1, 2013). Yale Law School, Public Law Working Paper No. 301. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2286861 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2286861

Contact Information

Hope Metcalf (Contact Author)
Yale Law School ( email )
127 Wall St.
New Haven, CT 06511
United States
Jamelia Morgan
Independent
No Address Available
Samuel Oliker-Friedland
Independent ( email )
No Address Available
Judith Resnik
Yale University - Law School ( email )
P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States
203-432-1447 (Phone)
203-432-1719 (Fax)
Julia Spiegel
Independent ( email )
No Address Available
Haran Tae
Yale University - Law School ( email )
127 Wall St.
New Haven, CT 06511
United States
Alyssa Roxanne Work
Independent
No Address Available
Brian Holbrook
Independent ( email )
No Address Available
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