Cloud, David, Jessi LaChance, Lionel Smith, and Lauren Galarza. The Safe Alternatives to Segregation Initiative: Findings and Recommendations for the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections, and Progress Toward Implementation. Report. Center on Sentencing and Corrections, Vera Institute of Justice. 2019.
In recent years, a diverse range of corrections practitioners, national and international organizations, policymakers, and the public have called for reform of restrictive housing (also known as segregation or solitary confinement) in prisons and jails. They cite the potentially devastating psychological and physiological impacts of spending 22 to 24 hours a day alone in a cell, the costs of operating such highly restrictive environments, and the lack of conclusive evidence demonstrating that segregation makes correctional facilities or communities safer.
In December 2016, the Vera Institute of Justice (Vera) partnered with the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections as part of the Safe Alternatives to Segregation Initiative. Through the partnership, Vera assessed the department’s use of restrictive housing, identified opportunities for reform, and provided targeted recommendations and technical assistance to help Louisiana safely reduce its use of restrictive housing.
This report presents the findings from Vera’s assessment and recommendations for reform, as well as an overview of the reform efforts Louisiana has made over the last few years.