While research is growing on the effects of restrictive housing—more commonly known as solitary confinement—there are still many questions about who is housed in these units and why they are there. Moreover, while many studies have investigated the impact of placement in restrictive housing on incarcerated people, there is very little research on the effect of working in these units on corrections officers.

Vera, through the support of the National Institute of Justice, and in collaboration with the University of North Carolina School of Social Work and Oregon Health and Science University, is conducting a multi-year study to understand the national use of restrictive housing in prisons and jails and assess the impact of working in restrictive housing on correctional officers’ mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing.

Project Objectives

  • To analyze how segregation is used in U.S. prisons, and what factors are associated with being placed in segregation.

  • To understand the impacts of restrictive housing on those who are incarcerated there, specifically with an eye toward the mental and physical health of those who are isolated for long periods of time.

  • To understand the impact of working in restrictive housing settings on the health and well being of corrections staff.

Key Fact

Nearly 20% of incarcerated people reported being placed in restrictive housing during the previous year—according to a 2012 report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.