The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) recently released the publication, “More Than Emptying Beds: A Systems Approach to Segregation Reform.” This resource focuses on the overuse of restrictive housing in America's prisons and jails, and highlights the efforts of jurisdictions to reduce segregation and improve conditions in a safe and smart way.
Restrictive housing, also known as solitary confinement, administrative segregation, or simply segregation, typically consists of placement of an individual in a solitary cell for up to 23 hours a day. Evidence strongly suggests that segregation can be detrimental to the physical, psychological, and behavioral health of those placed in these conditions, as well as considered by some a violation of human rights. BJA has made it a mission to reduce the amount of people going into restrictive housing, create rehabilitative alternatives, ensure an accountable and consistent process for placement and release decisions, improve conditions for those who are placed in restrictive housing, and facilitate successful exit from those placements.
To make an impactful change to this complex issue, it is essential to take a systems approach. This policy brief shares lessons from the systems approach to reform undertaken by the Washington Department of Corrections (WADOC) that began more than a decade ago and continues to the present day.
To read the full publication, please click here.