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.

Reform

Target Population

Facility Type

Location

Process

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Closing Death Row Unit

Oregon Department of Corrections

The Oregon Department of Corrections closed its death row unit, relocated death-sentenced incarcerated people, and relocated its disciplinary segregation unit to the repurposed space.

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

Multi-Disciplinary Review Team (MDRT)

Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS)

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.

Rehabilitative Diversion Unit

North Carolina Department of Public Safety/Prisons

Repurposing Segregation Units

Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS)

Restrictive Housing Field Officer Training Program

Washington State Department of Corrections 

As a supplement to yearly training, the Washington State Department of Corrections created specialized restrictive housing training for correctional staff assigned to work in RH. Officers receive the Restrictive Housing Field Officer Training (FTO) booklet, a handheld steno book, as a part of their training materials.

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.

Restrictive Housing Unit (RHU) Pilot

Virginia Department of Corrections

Restructuring Administrative Segregation into Specialized Units

North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Revised disciplinary policy

North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Security Threat Group Management Unit (STGMU)

North Carolina Department of Public Safety/Prisons

Special Needs Unit

Pennsylvania Department of Corrections

Pennsylvania DOC created Special Needs Units (SNUs) for people with physical, mental, emotional, or other vulnerabilities to receive additional services, support, and/or protection.

Step-down program

Colorado Department of Corrections

Step-Down Program

Hampden County Correctional Center (HCCC)

Step-down Program

South Dakota Department of Corrections

The restrictive housing program at the South Dakota Department of Corrections (SDDOC) was implemented with guidance from the Community Resources for Justice (CRJ )in 2014 to support incarcerated people in restrictive housing by gradually easing restrictions and providing programming through a step-down level system.

The Blue Room

Oregon Department of Corrections

The Challenge Program (TCP)

Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS)

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.