Center on Sentencing and Corrections

Boxed In

The True Cost of Extreme Isolation in New York's Prisons

Boxed In

Kim, Scarlet, Taylor Pendergrass, and Helen Zelon. Boxed In: The True Cost of Extreme Isolation in New York’s Prisons. New York Civil Liberties Union, 2012.

“The NYCLU set out to investigate New York’s use of extreme isolation. We explored the history that led to the emergence and expansion of the practice in New York. We asked who New York subjects to extreme isolation, for what reasons, and for how long. We sought to understand and articulate its effects on prisoners and their families, as well as an often-overlooked population – the corrections staff assigned to watch them. We compared New York’s use of extreme isolation with practices in other states and asked if the widespread use of the practice violates legal standards. Finally, we considered how reforming the use of extreme isolation would affect the safety of New York’s prisons and communities.”

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Keywords: public safety, harmful effects, adverse outcomes, cost, mental health, disciplinary segregation, New York, alternatives, reform, case studies, SHU, administrative segregation, history, racial disparities, staff, corrections officers, guards, human rights, torture, impact on staff, staff morale