Center on Sentencing and Corrections

Rethinking Death Row

Variations in the Housing of Individuals Sentenced to Death

Rethinking Death Row

The Arthur Liman Public Interest Program, Yale Law School. Rethinking Death Row: Variations in the Housing of Individuals Sentenced to Death, July 2016.


“In response to growing concerns about the prolonged isolation of death sentenced prisoners in the United States, the Arthur Liman Public Interest Program at Yale Law School has released a new report examining the housing of death sentenced prisoners around the country.”

“With growing awareness about the debilitating effects of long-term isolation, the placement of death-sentenced prisoners on what is colloquially known as ‘death row’ has become the subject of discussion, controversy, and litigation.” This report “details the statutes, regulations, and policies that govern the housing of those sentenced to death and reviews prior research on the housing conditions of death-sentenced prisoners.”

Rethinking Death Row concludes that in most jurisdictions, corrections administrators have discretion about how to house death-sentenced individuals. The report details the experience of administrators in three states, Colorado, Missouri, and North Carolina, who have chosen not to impose isolating conditions. Given the discretion available when deciding on confinement arrangements, these states offer models for death-sentenced people that do not entail placement in solitary confinement.”


Click here to view the report.


Keywords: North Carolina Department of Public Safety, Colorado Department of Corrections, Missouri Department of Corrections, death row, death penalty, capital punishment, death-sentenced prisoners, death sentenced prisoners