Time-In-Cell

The ASCA-Liman 2014 National Survey of Administrative Segregation in Prison

Time-In-Cell

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

 

“Prolonged isolation of individuals in jails and prisons is a grave problem drawing national attention and concern. Commitments to lessen the numbers of people in isolated settings and to reduce the degrees of isolation have emerged from across the political spectrum. Legislators, judges, and directors of correctional systems at both state and federal levels, joined by a host of private sector voices, have called for change. In many jurisdictions, prison directors are revising their policies to limit the use of restricted housing and the deprivations it entails.

Although a few in-depth reports and litigation have provided detailed accounts of specific systems, relatively little nationwide information exists about the number of people held in restrictive housing, the policies determining their placement, how isolated the settings are, and whether the rules governing social contact, activities, and length of stay vary from place to place.

Therefore, in 2012, the Liman Program at Yale Law School joined with the Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA), which is the national organization of the directors of all the U.S. prison systems, to gather information. We asked the directors of state and federal corrections systems to provide their policies governing administrative segregation, defined as removing a prisoner from general population to spend 22 to 23 hours a day in a cell for 30 days or more. The result, Administrative Segregation, Degrees of Isolation, and Incarceration: A National Overview of State and Federal Correctional Policies (2013), based on responses from 47 jurisdictions, analyzed the criteria for placement in and release from administrative segregation.

What we learned is that the criteria for entry were broad, as was the discretion accorded correctional officials when making individual decisions about placement. Many jurisdictions provided very general reasons for moving a prisoner into segregation, such as that the prisoner posed 'a threat' to institutional safety or a danger to 'self, staff, or other inmates.' Some but not all jurisdictions provided notice to the prisoner of the grounds for the placement and an opportunity for a hearing. The kind of notice and what constituted a 'hearing' varied substantially. In short, at the formal level, getting into segregation was relatively easy, and few policies focused on how people got out.

In 2014, to understand the impact of these policies, the Liman Program and ASCA developed a survey of more than 130 questions, again sent to the directors of all the prison systems. Responses came from 46 jurisdictions, although not all jurisdictions answered all the questions. The result is this report, providing a unique inter-jurisdictional analysis of the use of administrative segregation around the United States.”

 

Click here to view the report.

 

Click here to view the related 2013 report, Administrative Segregation, Degrees of Isolation, and Incarceration: A National Overview of State and Federal Correctional Policies.