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Use of Restrictive Housing in U.S. Prisons and Jails, 2011-12

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2015
1 page
Allen J. Beck
Publication Series
This summary report on the use of restrictive housing in U.S. prisons and jails for 2011-12 addresses the prevalence and features of such housing, the characteristics of inmates in restrictive housing, its mental health impact on inmates in restrictive housing, and factors in the inmate population that fuel the use of restrictive housing.
On an average day in 2011-12, up to 4.4 percent of State and Federal inmates, as well as 2.7 percent of jail inmates were held in administrative segregation or solitary confinement. Approximately 10 percent of all prison inmates and 5 percent of jail inmates had spent 30 days or longer in restrictive housing. Such housing typically involves limited programming opportunities and privileges, as well as minimal interaction with other inmates. The inmates most likely to spend time in restrictive housing are young; without a high school diploma; and with a sexual orientation of gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Approximately 25 percent of prison and jail inmates who had been diagnosed with a mental health disorder spent time in segregation or solitary confinement. Nearly 30 percent of prison inmates and 22 percent of jail inmates who had been diagnosed with serious psychological distress had spent time in restrictive housing units in 2011-12. Just over 75 percent of inmates in prisons and jails who had been written up for assaulting other inmates or staff had spent time in restrictive housing. Prisons with higher rates of restrictive housing had higher levels of facility disorder, lower levels of inmate trust and confidence in staff, and higher concentrations of violent inmates, as well as inmates with longer criminal histories. 1 figure

Date Created: October 23, 2015