Innovative Programming

MP3 players: The Hampden County Sheriff’s Department in Massachusetts distributes MP3 players to people in restrictive housing as a reward for positive behavior. The content provided in the MP3 players includes self-help and treatment material, music, nature sounds, and audiobooks. The department has found MP3 players a cost-effective way to keep people engaged in positive activities and to reinforce constructive behavior.

De-escalation rooms: The Colorado Department of Corrections has introduced de-escalation rooms in its restrictive housing units, where a person can choose to go for a time to cool down. These rooms often have soothing wall murals, dim lights, and a comfortable chair. People can listen to calming music, use exercise balls, read, and participate in art therapy while there. 

Blue Rooms: In 2013, Oregon created the first “Blue Room” on a restrictive housing unit, a place where people can go and view nature videos. A recent study of this unit found promising results among those who were able to use the Blue Room, including fewer acts of violence, a lower rate of disciplinary infractions, individuals reporting feeling “soothed” by the videos, and prison staff saying they appeared “calmer.”[]Bryan Denson, “Oregon Prison Tackles Solitary Confinement with Blue Room Experiment,” The Oregonian, August 21, 2014; and