Local jails and state prisons in 5 states plan to reduce the use of solitary confinement

Associated Press

A New York-based criminal justice nonprofit says it will work with jails and prisons in five states to reduce the use of solitary confinement.

The Vera Institute of Justice said Tuesday that state corrections systems in Nebraska, Oregon and North Carolina as well as jails in New York City and Middlesex County, New Jersey, were picked for the two-year plan.

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Inmates are regularly placed in 23-hour confinement for breaking jailhouse rules, for their protection and for security reasons. Some prisoners have stayed in solitary for years.

But Vera's Fred Patrick says research shows restrictive housing can be counterproductive to jail safety and can damage prisoners psychologically and otherwise.

Patrick says Vera will help corrections officials analyze their use of solitary, evaluate their disciplinary system and develop other programming.