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NIJ, FBOP Partner on Research to Reduce Restrictive Housing in Federal Prisons

Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Justice’s Federal Bureau of Prisons and Office of Justice Program’s National Institute of Justice announced a partnership to conduct a comprehensive and rigorous study of the use and impact of restrictive housing in federal correctional facilities.

The study will examine the reasons, duration and outcomes of restrictive housing placements in FBOP institutions. It will also assess the extent to which FBOP policies and practices align with evidence-based standards and best practices for reducing the use of restrictive housing (commonly known as solitary confinement).

“The proper care of those in our custody and the safety and well-being of our employees are key tenets of our mission at the Federal Bureau of Prisons,” said FBOP Director Colette S. Peters. “My decades of experience in corrections has made me acutely aware of the harms that restrictive housing may cause to a person’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Research confirms for us that it is not an effective deterrent, and generally does not reduce institutional-level misconduct or violence. While FBOP has reformed its restrictive housing policies over the years, it is now time to take a deeper dive into our practices and compare them to best practices across this country and around the globe.”

FBOP and NIJ announced their partnership as part of their commitment to advancing the science and practice of corrections and ensuring that data and research inform correctional policies. The partnership also responds to the recommendations of DOJ’s Report and Recommendations Concerning the Use of Restrictive Housing, which called for more research on the prevalence and effects of restrictive housing and the development of alternatives to its use.

“Research is essential in identifying opportunities to establish correctional environments that are conducive to rehabilitation and promote safety for all who reside and work in them,” noted NIJ Director Nancy La Vigne. “This study will shed light on practices that lead to the overuse of restrictive housing and highlight opportunities to create more humane experiences for people in FBOP custody.”

The study will provide recommendations for reforms designed to enhance the safety, security and well-being of employees and incarcerated individuals, as well as promote the successful reentry of incarcerated people into society. Both agencies have expressed a commitment to making the findings of this multi-year research public and making improvements in policies and accountability mechanisms as a result of the findings.

Information about the National Institute of Justice is available at www.nij.gov. Information about the Federal Bureau of Prisons is available at www.bop.gov.

The research entity that will be conducting the study, RTI International, was selected after a rigorous competitive bidding process.


About the Federal Bureau of Prisons
FBOP is a United States Federal Law Enforcement agency within the U.S. Department of Justice. FBOP is comprised of corrections professionals who foster a humane and secure environment and ensure public safety by preparing individuals for successful reentry into our communities. For more information on the FBOP, you may visit our public website here at bop.gov.

About the National Institute of Justice
NIJ is the research, development, and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice, housed within the Office of Justice Programs. NIJ is dedicated to improving knowledge and understanding of crime and justice issues through science. It generates objective and independent evidence and tools to inform the decision-making of the criminal and juvenile justice communities to promote public safety and advance justice. More information about NIJ, OJP, and its other components can be found at www.ojp.gov.

OFFICE: nij.ojp.gov
CONTACT: OJP Media at [email protected]

Date Published: August 29, 2023