Rethinking 'Death Row': Variations in the Housing of Individuals Sentenced to Death

85 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2016

See all articles by Celina Aldape

Celina Aldape

Yale University, Law School, Students

Ryan Cooper

Yale University, Law School, Students

Katherine Haas

Yale University, Law School, Students

Xionan April Hu

Yale University, Law School, Students

Jessica Hunter

Yale University, Law School, Students

Shelle Shimizu

Yale University, Law School, Students

Johanna Kalb

Loyola University New Orleans College of Law; New York University (NYU) - Brennan Center for Justice

Judith Resnik

Yale University - Law School

Date Written: July 7, 2016

Abstract

In 2015, individuals sentenced to death in the United States were housed in varying degrees of isolation. Many people were kept apart from others in profoundly isolating conditions, while others were housed with each other or with the general prison population. Given the growing awareness of the debilitating effects of long-term isolation, the placement of death-sentenced prisoners on what is colloquially known as “death row” has become the subject of discussion, controversy, and litigation.

This Report, written under the auspices of the Arthur Liman Public Interest Program at Yale Law School, examines the legal parameters of death row housing to learn whether correctional administrators have discretion in deciding how to house death-sentenced individuals and to document the choices made in three jurisdictions where death-sentenced prisoners are not kept in isolation. Part I details the statutes, regulations, and policies that govern the housing of those sentenced to death and reviews prior research on the housing conditions of death-sentenced prisoners. Part II presents an overview of decisions in three states, North Carolina, Missouri, and Colorado, where correctional administrators enable death-sentenced prisoners to have meaningful opportunities to interact with others. Given the discretion that correctional officials have over housing arrangements, these states provide models to house capital-sentenced prisoners without placing them in solitary confinement.

Keywords: solitary confinement , death penalty , corrections

Suggested Citation

Aldape, Celina and Cooper, Ryan and Haas, Katherine and Hu, Xionan April and Hunter, Jessica and Shimizu, Shelle and Kalb, Johanna and Resnik, Judith, Rethinking 'Death Row': Variations in the Housing of Individuals Sentenced to Death (July 7, 2016). Yale Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 571. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2806015 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2806015

Celina Aldape

Yale University, Law School, Students ( email )

127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

Ryan Cooper

Yale University, Law School, Students ( email )

127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

Katherine Haas

Yale University, Law School, Students ( email )

127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

Xionan April Hu

Yale University, Law School, Students ( email )

127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

Jessica Hunter

Yale University, Law School, Students ( email )

127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

Shelle Shimizu

Yale University, Law School, Students ( email )

127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

Johanna Kalb

Loyola University New Orleans College of Law ( email )

7214 St. Charles Ave., Box 901
Campus Box 901
New Orleans, LA 70118
United States

New York University (NYU) - Brennan Center for Justice ( email )

161 Avenue of the Americas
12th Floor
New York, NY 10013
United States

Judith Resnik (Contact Author)

Yale University - Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States
203-432-1447 (Phone)
203-432-1719 (Fax)

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