Correctional Leaders Association, and The Liman Center for Public Interest Law. Time-in-Cell 2019: A Snapshot of Restrictive Housing. 2020.
This report from the Correctional Leaders Association (CLA) and the Arthur Liman Center for Public Interest Law at Yale Law School provides a comprehensive analysis of national data on the use of restrictive housing (also known as solitary confinement) in correctional facilities. Data was collected from a survey sent to all state prison systems in 2019, which inquired about the number of incarcerated people in restrictive housing, their length of stay in isolation, their demographic makeup, and the restrictive housing policies of each jurisdiction.
Some highlights from the report’s findings include:
- In the summer of 2019, an estimated 55,000 to 62,500 people incarcerated in U.S. state prisons were in restrictive housing—defined as being held in isolation for an average of 22 hours or more a day for at least 15 days.
- Thirty-nine state prison systems reported housing a total of 31,542 people—or 3.8 percent of the total prison population in those jurisdictions—in restrictive housing.
- Across these 39 states, the percentage of incarcerated people in restrictive housing varied from 11 percent to zero.
- Four states said they no longer keep anyone in restrictive housing, according to the survey’s definition.
This report also shares data on the racial makeup of incarcerated people in restrictive housing, asserting that Black and Hispanic men are more likely than white men to be placed in restrictive housing, and that Black women are much more likely to be housed in solitary confinement than other women.
As it is the fourth CLA-Liman report analyzing survey data, the 2019 Snapshot also compares national data on the use of restrictive housing from 2014-2020. The decrease in the use of restrictive housing in the United States is a result of more correctional leaders, legislatures, and courts that are focused on strictly regulating, reducing, and in some cases ending the practice of restrictive housing in prisons.
Keywords: restrictive housing, solitary confinement, prison isolation, segregation, conditions of confinement, isolation, Liman, CLA.