Segregation—also known as solitary confinement and restrictive housing—is a growing safety and human rights concern across the country. Originally implemented to deal with people committing violence within prisons, segregation is now relied on heavily to manage challenging populations, house vulnerable people, and punish people for all levels of infractions, from serious to minor and nonviolent.

Increasing evidence suggests this practice is counterproductive to safety and security. Holding people in isolation with minimal human contact for days, years, or even decades can create or exacerbate serious mental health problems and anti-social behavior, have negative outcomes for institutional safety, lead to increased risk of recidivism after release, and is costly to resource-strained corrections agencies. Furthermore, the negative impact of these harsh working conditions on staff wellness are beginning to be investigated and understood.

Vera is working to reduce corrections systems’ reliance on segregation by partnering with states and local jurisdictions to help them reduce segregation safely and effectively. By aiding corrections officials in these reduction efforts, Vera further aims to improve human dignity behind bars and promote effective rehabilitation efforts for incarcerated people.

Project Objectives

  • To safely reduce the use of segregation at corrections facilities nationwide.

  • To identify alternative strategies for addressing institutional behavior, managing difficult populations, and protecting the vulnerable.

  • To improve the lives of incarcerated people by treating them with dignity and respect—using segregation only as a last resort.