Center on Sentencing and Corrections


Isolation in the U.S. Federal Prison System


Amnesty International. Entombed: Isolation in the US Federal Prison System. London: Amnesty International, 2014.


“As discussed in this report, Amnesty International believes that the conditions at ADX are unacceptably harsh and that in-cell programs cannot compensate for the lack of meaningful social interaction which many prisoners endure for years on end… Failure to provide suitable, daily outdoor exercise falls short of the United Nations (UN) Standard Minimum Rules (SMR) for the Treatment of Prisoners. Amnesty International recognizes that the authorities have an obligation to ensure the safety of staff and inmates and that it may be necessary at times to segregate prisoners. However all measures must be consistent with the USA’s obligation to treat all prisoners humanely, without exception… In putting together this report at a time when the BOP is conducting a ‘comprehensive review’ into its restricted housing operations, Amnesty International is seeking to ensure that the audit be guided by the organizations’ concerns, including pre-trial isolation, and that its recommendations for best practice reflect those contained within this report.”


Click here to read the report.


Keywords: Federal Bureau of Prisons, BOP, ADX, SHU, administrative segregation, step-down, programming, reform