Center on Sentencing and Corrections

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Supermax Prisons

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Supermax Prisons

Mears, Daniel P. Evaluating the Effectiveness of Supermax Prisons. Washington: Urban Institute Justice Policy Center, 2006.

“During the past 20 years, super-maximum-security prisons have become a common feature of the corrections landscape in America. Yet little is known about the goals or unintended effects associated with these prisons. Even less is known about their causal logic–that is, how they achieve particular goals and impacts. The Urban Institute study involved a comprehensive review of literature, correctional agency documents, and media accounts; site visits to three states; interviews with 60 practitioners and policymakers; and a national survey of state prison wardens. This report summarizes the findings and their implications.”

Click here to view the report.

Keywords: Super-max, administrative segregation, human rights, adverse outcomes, safety, public safety, alternatives, reentry, cost-benefit analysis