Center on Sentencing and Corrections

Promising Practices

Explore strategies being implemented in prisons and jails around the country to reduce their use of restrictive housing.


Target Population

Facility Type



All Promising Practices for Mental Health

Active Filters: Mental Health

Congregate Classroom Programming/Activities

Washington State Department of Corrections

Diversion for people with SMI

Colorado Department of Corrections

Diversionary Treatment Units (DTUs)

Pennsylvania Department of Corrections

Incentive-based system in disciplinary segregation

Hampden County Correctional Center (HCCC)

Intensive Mental Health Unit

Maine Department of Corrections

Programming in segregation

Hampden County Correctional Center (HCCC)

Rehabilitation Housing Unit

Cook County Sheriff’s Office (Thomas J. Dart)

New procedures, intensive staff training, and programming enhancements formed the basis of a new initiative at the Cook County Jail, first called the Special Management Unit and now the Rehabilitation Unit.

Reducing Placements and Time Spent in Restrictive Housing

Maine Department of Corrections

The MDOC’s reforms have been implemented and continually enhanced to reduce the number of people placed in restrictive housing, reduce the amount of time individuals are spending there, provide meaningful programming opportunities and evidence-based interventions while they are housed there, and safely transition prisoners back into the general population.

Step-down program

Colorado Department of Corrections

Step-Down Program

Hampden County Correctional Center (HCCC)

Therapeutic Diversion Units (TDU)

North Carolina Department of Public Safety, Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice

This Promising Practices section of the SAS Resource Center was developed as part of a collaborative effort with the Vera Institute of Justice, University of Michigan Law School, and Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights. We are also deeply grateful to the many leaders across the country who created and implemented each of the reforms cited throughout this section for their efforts to reduce the use of restrictive housing in prisons and jails across the country.

Please note that Vera and our partners do not specifically endorse the practices and policies included in this section. The Promising Practices section features segregation reforms being implemented in prisons and jails around the country. Our goal is to serve as a resource to other jail and prison systems interested in implementing similar practices and policies by highlighting those jurisdictions that report successful reforms.