Center on Sentencing and Corrections



There is increasing evidence that the use of segregation in prisons and jails—sometimes referred to as solitary confinement or restricted housing—produces unwanted and harmful outcomes—for the mental and physical health of those in isolation, the well-being of staff, facility safety, corrections budgets of jurisdictions that rely on the practice, and the public safety of the communities to which most incarcerated people will return.

Through this blog series, “Addressing the Overuse of Segregation in U.S. Prisons and Jails,” bloggers of various perspectives—from corrections officials and academic experts to advocates and formerly incarcerated people—will examine the issues presented by the use of segregated housing and discuss promising strategies for reform. Many of the bloggers are staff of Vera’s Safe Alternatives to Segregation Initiative and members of Vera’s Safe Alternatives to Segregation Advisory Council.

Halden Prison, universally considered the world’s “most humane” correctional institution, is located in a Norwegian town of the same name. For a casual observer from the United States, Halden may as well be on another planet.

By Rollin Cook, Executive Director of Utah Department of Corrections, Aaron Kinikini, attorney at Disability Law Center, Anna Thomas, former American Civil Liberties Union public policy advocate, and Byron Kline, Senior Program Associate at Vera Institute of Justice April 26, 2018