Reports & Publications

REPORTS (alphabetical)

** Solitary Watch’s Resource Center also contains extensive information on adult solitary.

ACLU Updated Resource Guide for Advocates, Jan. 2019

American Correctional Association Standards on Youth Isolation: Joint Comments by Youth Justice Professionals, Experts, and Civil Rights Advocates, December 2017

American Correctional Association Restrictive Housing Performance Based Standards, August 2016 (approved by committee, not final)

In August 2016 the ACA’s Restrictive Housing Standards Committee approved updated standards on the use of solitary confinement. The new standards are now subject to field testing and final approval, a process which could take until late 2017.  Standard 4-RH-0034 provides that “[c]onfinement of offenders under the age of 18 years of age in Extended Restrictive Housing is prohibited.” Extended Restrictive Housing is defined as being isolated in-cell for “at least 22  hours per day and for more than 30 days for the safe and secure operation of the facility.”

ACLU of North Carolina Report to Mecklenburg County Sheriff on High Rates of Solitary for Kids in County Jails, March 2016

ACLU Discussion Paper, Solitary Confinement Reform in the U.S.: Current Status and Next Steps, January 2016

Administrative Segregation, Degrees of Isolation, and Incarceration: A National Overview of State and Federal Correctional Policies, Yale Law School and the Association of State Correctional Administrators, 2013

This report is the first of three published by the Liman Program at Yale University and the Association of State Correctional Administrators. It summarizes policies governing administrative segregation in adult facilities.

Aiming to Reduce Time-In-Cell,  Yale Law School and the Association of State Correctional Administrators, November 2016

Yale Law School and the Association of State Correctional Administrators released a third report on the use of solitary in adult jails and prisons in the United States. The full title is Aiming to Reduce Time-In-Cell, Reports from Correctional Systems on the Numbers of Prisoners in Restricted Housing and on the Potential of Policy Changes to Bring About Reforms. Notably, the authors of the report faced significant limitations caused by the lack of available data.

Association of Restrictive Housing During Incarceration With Mortality After Release, Law and Medicine JAMA Network Open Network, Oct. 2019

Alone and Afraid: Children Held in Solitary Confinement and Isolation in Juvenile Detention and Correction Facilities, June 2014, ACLU

Bound and Broken: How the Colorado DYC’s Culture of Violence is Hurting Colorado’s Kids and What to Do About It, ACLU March 2017

Breaking Down the Walls: Lessons Learned from Successful Campaigns to Close Youth Prisons, Youth First, 2017

CJJA Issue Brief: COVID-19 Practice, Policy & Emergency Protocols in State Juvenile Facilities, May 2020

CJJA Issue Brief: Reducing Isolation in Youth Facilities (RIYF) & Training and Technical Assistance, Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators, June 2016

CJJA Issue Brief: Sustaining the Gains – Alternative Tools to Isolation, Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators, June 2016

Department of Justice Report and Recommendations on Restrictive Housing, January 2016

This report, released by the Department of Justice on January 26, 2016, contains recommendations and key guiding principles, including prohibiting restrictive housing for juveniles. Read more here.

Desktop Guide to Quality Practice for Working With Youth in Confinement, National Partnership for Juvenile Services, 2015

Chapter 14 on behavioral management describes appropriate practices for dealing with challenging use that do not involve isolation.

The Ethical Use of Medical Isolation – Not Solitary Confinement – To Reduce COVID-19 Transmission in Correctional Settings, Dr. Brie Larson, Univ. of California San Francisco, Amend, 2020

The Effect of Solitary Confinement on Institutional Misconduct: A Longitudinal Evaluation, Labrecque, Ryan, PhD diss., University of Cincinnati, 2015

This study evaluates the effect of solitary on institutional misconduct in a sample of 14,311 adults in Ohio. The results of this study indicate that solitary does not have any significant reduction effect on the prevalence or incidence of subsequent violent, nonviolent, or drug misconduct.

Growing Up Locked Down: Youth in Solitary Confinement, ACLU, Ian Kysel, October, 2012

Growing Up Locked Down: Juvenile Solitary Confinement in Nebraska, ACLU of Nebraska, January 2016

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Children & Adolescents in U.S. Adult Criminal Justice System, March 2018.

IACHR Fact Sheet on Alternatives to Isolation, August 2018

Maltreatment of Youth in U.S. Juvenile Corrections Facilities, Annie E. Casey Foundation, June 2016

This report, released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation is a follow-up to No Place For Kids, a 2011 report on harms of incarcerating youth. The new report introduces evidence on the widespread maltreatment of youth in state-funded juvenile corrections facilities, including the use of isolation.

Missed Opportunities: The Experience of Young Adults Incarcerated in Federal Penitentiaries,” August 2017. The report focuses on young Canadians, ages 18-21 years old.

The Negative Impact of Solitary Confinement on Youth, Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, Kate McCracken, 2014

Not in Isolation: How to Reduce Room Confinement While Increasing Safety in Youth Facilities, June 2019

This groundbreaking report from the Stop Solitary for Kids campaign focuses on concrete details about how and why four jurisdictions reduced solitary confinement without risking the safety of youth or staff.

The Ohio Model: A Report on the Transformational Reform of the Ohio Department of Youth Services, 2007 ‐ 2015, U.S. Department of Justice, December 2015

OJJDP Supports Eliminating Solitary Confinement for Youth, Justice Blog, April 2016

Performance-based Standards New Report on Isolation, June 2019

The Psychological Effects of Solitary Confinement: A Systematic Critique by Craig Haney in Crime and Justice 47, no.1 (2018)

Promising Practices to Reduce Restrictive Housing by Vera Justice Institute, October 2018 (focuses on adult facilities).

Reforming Restrictive Housing: The 2018 ASCA-Liman Nationwide Survey of Time-in-Cell, Oct. 2018 (focuses on adult facilities).

Remarks by President Obama, Calling on Attorney General to Investigate Solitary, NAACP Conference, July 14, 2015

Rethinking Restrictive Housing: Lessons from Five U.S. Jail and Prison Systems Report, Vera Institute, May 2018

This report documents the Vera’s Safe Alternatives to Segregation’s work with five adult correctional agencies: Nebraska; Oregon; North Carolina; New York City; and Middlesex County, New Jersey. See separate Fact Sheet and other resources from Vera Safe Alternatives to Segregation.

See the Webinar on Rethinking Restrictive Housing from Vera.

Rethinking Solitary Confinement for Juveniles, National Conference of State Legislatures, Vol. 24, No. 20, 2016

Seeing Into Solitary: A Review of the Laws and Policies of Certain Nations Regarding Solitary Confinement of Detainees, September 2016

This report documents the state of laws on solitary confinement around the world. Also included is the Interim report of the Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council, Juan Mendez.

Solitary Confinement (Florida): Inhumane, Ineffective, and Wasteful, 2019

Solitary Watch – Solitary Resource Online Center, 2019

Solitary Confinement of Youth With Mental Health Disabilities in New Jersey’s Adult Prison System, New Jersey Parents’ Caucus, May 2018

Thinking Outside the Box, Report on New Zealand’s Use of Solitary, April 2017

Time-in-Cell: The ASCA-Liman 2014 National Survey of Administrative Segregation in Prison, Yale Law School and the Association of State Correctional Administrators, August 2015

This report outlines data on both the numbers and the conditions in restricted housing nationwide, excluding juvenile facilities. Based on a survey, 32 states, the District of Columbia, and the Bureau of Prisons, reported a combined 66,522 inmates in restrictive housing. If those numbers were illustrative of the jurisdictions that did not respond, the number of inmates in restrictive housing nationwide in 2014 was approximately 80,000 to 100,000, not counting jails, juvenile facilities, or immigration and military detention.

A summary of the report from ASCA published in 2015 can be found here.

The Report also analyzed a subset or adult male prisoners in administrative segregation in a smaller number of states and found that African-Americans and Latinos were overrepresented. Read more on data here.

Towards a More Just NYC: Independent Commission on New York Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform, April 2017

This report was authored by an independent commission created in 2016 by City Council to study mass incarceration in New York. The report recommends many of the same strategies used by effective juvenile justice facilities to create safe, rehabilitative, and human conditions inside jails and to eliminate abusive practices like solitary confinement.

Unlocking Youth: Legal Strategies to End Solitary Confinement in Juvenile Facilities, August 2017

This report uses surveys of public defenders, conversations with youth and families, interviews with correctional administrators, and legal and psychological research to fill these gaps and set forth recommendations for reform.

Unlocking Solitary Confinement: Ending Extreme Isolation in Nevada State Prisons, February 2017

This report was initiated in response to the Nevada Department of Corrections’ (NDOC) claims that the state does not use solitary confinement. However, complaints to the ACLU of Nevada (ACLUNV), Solitary Watch, the Nevada Disability Advocacy & Law Center (NDALC), and other prisoner’s rights organizations painted a very different picture.  In this report, ACLUNV, Solitary Watch, and NDALC sought to measure the extent to which solitary confinement is used in Nevada, as well as collect reports from the men and women actually experiencing prolonged isolation. They sent a comprehensive survey to 749 people incarcerated across the state and found that that solitary confinement is in fact widely used in the state of Nevada, often for prolonged periods of time, and that many of the people held there are denied basic human needs like daily exercise, sufficient medical care, or adequate amounts of food.

Working to Limit Restrictive Housing: Efforts in Four Jurisdictions to Make Changes, ASCA and the Liman Center at Yale Law School, Oct. 2018 (focuses on adult facilities in CO, ID, OH, and ND).

Worse Than Second-Class: Solitary Confinement of Women in the United States, ACLU, April 2014

51-Jurisdiction Survey of Solitary Confinement Rules in Juvenile Justice System, July 2016, Lowenstein Sandler Center for the Public Interest.

** While the survey identifies states that prohibit solitary confinement as punishment, in the majority of states, youth can still be placed in solitary for other purposes, such as “safety” concerns. In practice, the line between punitive and non-punitive confinement is often blurred.