New Website Helps Jurisdictions Reduce Solitary Confinement

New York, NY – The Vera Institute of Justice (Vera) announced today the launch of a new website dedicated to helping jurisdictions safely reduce their use of solitary confinement and other forms of segregated prisoner housing.

The website,, provides research and other resources to inform corrections officials as well as policymakers, advocates, the media, and the general public about the current use of segregation in the United States, its impact, and what can be done to address it.

Segregated housing—also known as solitary confinement or restricted housing—is a practice that corrections officials across the United States regularly use not only as punishment for violent behavior, but also for a variety of other reasons, including minor violations of prison rules or to protect inmates at risk of assault. While the precise number of people held in segregation on any given day is not known, estimates run to between 80,000 and 100,000 in state and federal prisons.

Amid growing calls for reducing the use of segregation due to its detrimental effects on individuals and public safety, there is a critical need for information-sharing about the best ways to reduce its use by implementing alternatives that will protect the safety of both incarcerated people and those who work in facilities.

To address this need, the website’s searchable resource center contains the latest research, reports, policy briefs, and testimonials from corrections officials who have seen the benefits of alternative methods, highlighting in particular promising reforms already being implemented in jurisdictions nationwide.  Among the resources is Vera’s recent report outlining 10 common misconceptions about the use of solitary confinement and promising alternatives. 

The resource center is part of the national Safe Alternatives to Segregation Initiative, a project in which Vera is partnering with state corrections departments in Nebraska, North Carolina, and Oregon, as well as local departments in New York City and Middlesex County, New Jersey, to assess their use of segregation and develop and implement alternatives. The resource center and initiative are supported and funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance.

“Moving away from solitary confinement as the default response to correctional management challenges will better protect the human dignity of people who are confined, while making facilities safer,” said Fred Patrick, director of Vera’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections. “This online resource center will serve as a one-stop shop for best practices that will provide the necessary tools and support to anyone seeking to implement new policies that are more safe, effective, and humane.”

The website provides answers to many frequently asked questions on issues surrounding the use of segregation. Jurisdictions can also submit specific questions to the site’s administrators and request limited technical assistance. In the coming months, the site will also provide information on upcoming webinars highlighting reforms in corrections agencies across the country.

The website’s launch coincides with the meeting of the Safe Alternatives to Segregation Initiative’s advisory council, in which corrections leaders, health and mental health care experts, researchers, and advocates nationwide will share their expertise with the five participating jurisdictions and join a public convening in Washington, DC to discuss the on-the-ground change strategies and reform efforts being piloted.