In the Segregation Reduction Project, Vera partnered with Illinois, Maryland, Washington, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Bernalillo County, New Mexico to:

  • Review criteria to determine how to safely transition people form segregation to the general prison population;
  • Assess disciplinary sentences and lengths of stay in segregation;
  • Expand response options to disciplinary issues within prison;
  • Enhance programs to transition people out of segregation; and
  • Improve programming and conditions of confinement for those who remain. 

Building off this initial project, Vera further developed the Safe Alternatives to Segregation Initiative (SAS Initiative), which partnered with an additional ten state and local corrections systems to reduce their use of segregation. The program provides technical assistance to state corrections departments in Louisiana, Minnesota, Nevada, Utah, and Virginia. The program previously provided technical assistance to Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon, NYC, and Middlesex County. These sites—selected through an open and competitive RFP process—receive:

  • A detailed assessment of their segregation policies and practices, including the number and characteristics of people that spend time in segregation; the reasons they are placed there; lengths of stay; and the effectiveness of step-down, incentive, and other transition programs that move people from segregation back to the general prison population.
  • Recommendations on policy and practice changes to safely and effectively reduce segregation in their facilities; and
  • Implementation assistance as they pilot and implement recommended changes, and track the outcomes of these reforms.     

The SAS Initiative project is guided by an advisory council of state and local corrections practitioners that have safely reduced segregation practices in their home states, as well as other experts in corrections management, criminal justice policy, mental health, and special populations. Council members serve as peer mentors to the selected sites, and advise Vera on technical assistance priorities, best practices, and publication development.

Through the implementation of both the Segregation Reduction Project and the Safe Alternatives to Segregation Initiative, Vera developed an online resource database titled the Safe Alternatives to Segregation Resource Center. It provides the latest research, implementation guides, policy briefs, and current thinking from leaders in the field. In addition, this site allows Vera to provide limited on-demand technical assistance to additional jurisdictions. For more information, visit Vera's blog series.