Center on Sentencing and Corrections

From Punishment to Treatment: The "Clinical Alternative to Punitive Segregation" (CAPS) Program in New York City Jails

From Punishment to Treatment: The "Clinical Alternative to Punitive Segregation" (CAPS) Program in New York City Jails

Glowa-Kollisch, Sarah, Fatos Kaba, Anthony Waters, Y. Jude Leung, Elizabeth Ford, and Homer Venters. “From Punishment to Treatment: The ‘Clinical Alternative to Punitive Segregation’ (CAPS) Program in New York City Jails.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 13 (2016).

In 2013, the New York City jail system created a new treatment unit—the Clinical Alternative to Punitive Segregation (CAPS) unit—for people with serious mental illness who had violated prison rules. Previously, these individuals would have been punished with segregation; in the CAPS unit, however, they receive therapeutic activities and treatment, “including individual and group therapy, art therapy, medication counseling and community meetings.” In this article, the authors examined people sent to the CAPS unit as well as those sent to the Restrictive Housing Unit (RHU) and their clinical outcomes (focused on incidents of self-harm and verified injuries). They found “significantly lower rates of self-harm and injury occurred during treatment in the CAPS unit as opposed to punishment in the RHU.”

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Keywords: segregated housing, solitary confinement, isolation, mental health, mental illness, solitary confinement and mental illness

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