Center on Sentencing and Corrections

Reshaping Restrictive Housing at South Dakota State Penitentiary

Reshaping Restrictive Housing at South Dakota State Penitentiary

Pierce Parker, Barbara and Michael Kane. Reshaping Restrictive Housing at the South Dakota State Penitentiary. Boston, MA: Crime and Justice Institute, December 2015.

The Crime and Justice Institute released a report detailing reforms to segregation, otherwise known as restrictive housing, implemented within a state penitentiary. The report is the first of its kind, detailing the 2-year partnership between the South Dakota Department of Corrections and CJI, funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, to safely transform restrictive housing and share their successes and lessons learned.

 “Our nation’s correctional facilities are largely guarded from the public eye and even more guarded are the segregation units within these facilities,” said Barbara Pierce Parker, managing associate at CJI, who leads the Project to Reshape Restrictive Housing. “As the pressure mounts to significantly change the way restrictive housing is used in this country, we have to start sharing openly what departments of corrections and technical assistance providers are doing to reduce its use. It is no longer enough to just say that the population has been reduced by a certain percentage. How was that achieved? Where are people housed now? What is being done to safely manage difficult populations?”

One year into the implementation of its newly designed restrictive housing program, the South Dakota State Penitentiary saw its restrictive housing population drop by 18 percent, and its violent incident rate reach its lowest point and drop below the rate of the general prison population. These and other gains were the result of a careful planning, program design, and implementation process.

 Click here to view the report.

 Keywords: disciplinary segregation, administrative segregation, restrictive housing, restricted housing, segregation, segregated housing, isolation, torture, discrimination, segregated housing and mental health