Center on Sentencing and Corrections

About the Project

Safe Prisons, Safe Communities

The Safe Alternatives to Segregation Resource Center, a product of the Vera Institute of Justice, contains a wide variety of research, reports, policy briefs, and promising reforms related to the use of segregation—also referred to as solitary confinement, restrictive housing, or isolation—in corrections facilities around the United States. These resources aim to inform corrections officials, policymakers, advocates, the media, and the general public about the use of segregation in the United States, its negative impacts, and what can be done to safely reduce and ultimately end its use.

Increasing evidence shows that the use of restrictive housing—where people are held in a cell for 22-24 hours per day with little or no programming or human interaction—is harmful to incarcerated people and correctional staff, and is counterproductive to the safety and security of prisons and jails, as well as the communities to which most incarcerated people will return. By helping corrections systems reduce and reform their use of restrictive housing, Vera aims to improve respect for human dignity behind bars and promote effective rehabilitation efforts for incarcerated people.

Reducing the use of restrictive housing became a key priority of Vera’s in 2010. Through the Segregation Reduction Project (funded by the Robert W. Wilson Charitable Trust), the Safe Alternatives to Segregation Initiative (funded by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Wilson Trust), and the Safe Prisons, Safe Communities project, Vera partnered with 16 state and local corrections departments around the United States to assess their use of restrictive housing, provide recommendations for safely reducing that use, and assist with implementing reforms.

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