Center on Sentencing and Corrections

Webinar: Rethinking Restrictive Housing: What’s Worked in Colorado?

Webinar: Rethinking Restrictive Housing: What’s Worked in Colorado?

Rethinking Restrictive Housing: What’s Worked in Colorado?

This webinar was presented on September 17, 2018. You can watch the recording of the webinar, download the PowerPoint, view a video featuring staff at the Colorado State Penitentiary, and access related resources, below.


This webinar is part of a webinar series presented by the Safe Alternatives to Segregation Initiative. The purpose of the series is to highlight reforms to segregated housing (also referred to as restrictive housing or solitary confinement) being implemented by corrections agencies across the country.

This webinar examines strategies for reforming segregation and delves into the pioneering reforms that the Colorado Department of Corrections has implemented in recent years—including no longer housing people with serious mental illness (SMI) in segregation, capping punitive segregation at 15 days, and creating progressive step-down units to help people transition out of segregation and back to general population.

Featured Speakers:

Rick Raemisch, Executive Director, Colorado Department of Corrections
Steven Owens, Warden, Colorado State Penitentiary
Viola Bruning, Health Professional V, Colorado Department of Corrections
Sara Sullivan, Project Director, Vera Institute of Justice
Elena Vanko, Program Associate II, Vera Institute of Justice




This video features interviews with staff at the Colorado State Penitentiary, providing their points of view on the facility’s recent reforms.


Related Resources:

Click here to read the Vera Institute of Justice’s recent report, Rethinking Restricted Housing: Lessons from Five Jail and Prison Systems (2018).

Click here to read a 2017 op-ed written by Director Raemisch, “Ending Long-Term Solitary Confinement in Colorado.”

Click here to read the Colorado Department of Corrections’ 2015 report, Open the Door: Segregation Reforms in Colorado.

– Click here to read related policies of the Colorado Department of Corrections, including:

  • 150-01  Code of Penal Discipline
  • 600-01  Offender Classification
  • 600-03  Clinical Transfer of an Offender to a Mental Health Institution
  • 600-09  Management of Close Custody Offenders
  • 650-02  Protective Custody
  • 650-03  Restrictive Housing
  • 650-04 Residential Treatment Program for Offenders with Mental Illness


Click here to download the PowerPoint presentation for the webinar.