Center on Sentencing and Corrections

Compulsory commitment of inmates into the restrictive housing in U.S. prisons – roles, goals and future dynamics

Compulsory commitment of inmates into the restrictive housing in U.S. prisons – roles, goals and future dynamics

SzwejkowskaMałgorzataCompulsory commitment of inmates into the restrictive housing in U.S. prisons–roles, goals and future dynamics.Resocjalizacja Polska 19, no. 1 (2020), 89-102. 

This Polish Journal of Social Rehabilitation article provides an overview of restrictive housing use in U.S. prisons. The article presents the challenges presented by the lack of universal definition for restrictive housing and the different housing units, such as supermax facilities and other secure housing units that fall within this housing typeThe article also provides a brief history of separating people from the general prison population in the U.S. and the typical conditions within these units. It also evaluates the characteristics of people with an increased likelihood for placement in restrictive housing—such as people ages 18 to 30, people with lower degrees of education, previous conviction history, and people convicted for violent crimes (excluding sex crimes). Overall, the article highlights the “heterogeneity” of restrictive housing across prisons and jails and state and federal prison systems and the difficulties these differences present when evaluating restrictive housing’s effectiveness—though most agree restrictive housing is harmful to those with mental illnessThe article also highlights that across the U.S., jurisdictions are pursuing efforts to limit the use of restrictive housing and improve institutional safety, and deter rule-breaking, outside of this practice. 

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Keywords: incarcerated people, United States, correctional system, solitary confinement, regulations, policy, Poland