Elena Vanko

Elena Vanko has worked with corrections agencies for six years to reduce and, ultimately, end the use of solitary confinement (also known as restrictive housing or segregation) in prisons and jails around the country. She led the Safe Prisons, Safe Communities project’s partnership with the Washington State Department of Corrections, and she previously provided technical assistance to the corrections departments of Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, and Virginia. Elena also helped create an online restrictive housing assessment tool and co-authored Vera’s report, Rethinking Restrictive Housing. She has also contributed to other projects at Vera, including the Reimagining Prison Project and work to reduce recidivism.

Previously, Elena spent three years with the U.S. program at Human Rights Watch, supporting research and advocacy on numerous issues related to criminal justice, particularly sentencing, prison conditions, and victims’ rights. Elena holds a BA from Tufts University and an MA from the University of Essex.