Women in Segregation

Women In Segregation Square


Many efforts to understand and reform the use of segregation—also commonly called solitary confinement or restrictive housing—focus on incarcerated men. However, what is often ignored are women’s unique pathways into segregation and the differential impact that its restrictive conditions can have on them. Through the Safe Alternatives to Segregation Initiative (SAS Initiative), the Vera Institute of Justice (Vera) partnered with eight states and two jail systems to analyze their use of segregation and recommend safe strategies to reduce their overreliance on the practice. This fact sheet details Vera’s findings on the women-specific issues raised by the use of segregation in these facilities.

Key Takeaway

Although the literature on the negative psychological and physiological consequences of isolation within prison is growing—and there is some movement in corrections departments to reduce the use of segregation—this work will be incomplete until the field brings incarcerated women to the forefront of the issue.

Publication Highlights

  • Women are typically sent to segregation for low-level, nonviolent behavior.

  • The conditions of segregation are sometimes more restrictive for women than men, due to limited resources and space.

  • The negative impacts of segregation can be greater for women, due to their higher levels of past trauma and abuse and unique health needs, among other factors.

Key Facts