The Liman Project provides an opportunity for YLS students to work together with faculty on research and advocacy around specific issues related to detention and access to justice. This year, our projects address the use of isolation in prisons and regulations surrounding the practice, prosecutorial misconduct, conditions of confinement for women in prison, the use of risk assessments in parole determinations, and the fines and fees associated with criminal prosecution. If interested, please contact Anna VanCleave, Liman Program Director, at

Selected Projects

Time-in-Cell 2019: A Snapshot of Restrictive Housing Based on a Nationwide Survey of U.S. Prison Systems (September 14, 2020)

This is the fourth national survey of its kind, continuing the longitudinal data collections begun by the Liman Center and CLA (formerly, the Association of State Correctional Administrators) in 2014. Related materials: Report page | Overview (slides)

Reforming Restrictive Housing: The 2018 ASCA-Liman Nationwide Survey of Time-in-Cell

Judith Resnik, Anna VanCleave, Kristen Bell, Alexandra Harrington, Greg Conyers, Catherine McCarthy, Jenny Tumas, Annie Wang (October 10, 2018)

Fourth in a series of research projects co-authored by the Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA) and the Liman Center. These monographs provide a unique, longitudinal, nationwide database on the use of “restrictive housing,” often termed “solitary confinement.” The 2018 monograph provides information on the numbers of people in isolation, their demographics, and the policies governing the use of restrictive housing.

Working to Limit Restrictive Housing: Efforts in Four Jurisdictions to Make Changes

Judith Resnik, Anna VanCleave, Kristen Bell, Alexandra Harrington, Greg Conyers, Catherine McCarthy, Jenny Tumas, Annie Wang (October 2018)

Directors of prison systems in Colorado, Idaho, Ohio, and North Dakota detail how they were limiting and, in Colorado, abolishing the use of restrictive housing. Correctional administrations’ efforts to reduce the numbers of people in restrictive housing are part of a larger picture in which legislatures, courts, and other institutions are seeking to limit holding people in cells 22 hours or more for 15 days or more.

Aiming to Reduce Time-in-Cell: Reports from Correctional Systems on the Numbers of Prisoners in Restricted Housing and on the Potential of Policy Changes to Bring About Reforms (November 2016)

Rethinking "Death Row": Variations in the Housing of Individuals Sentenced to Death (July 2016)

A report examining the housing of death sentenced prisoners around the country. 

Comments to the 2016 ACA Restrictive Housing Proposed Revisions (January 19, 2016)
Letter to the Standards Committee and Committee on Restrictive Housing, American Correctional Association.

Time-in-Cell: The Liman-ASCA 2014 National Survey of Administrative Segregation in Prison 
Sarah Baumgartel, Corey Guilmette, Johanna Kalb, Diana Li, Josh Nuni, Devon Porter, Judith Resnik, Camille Camp, George Camp (September, 2015)

Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C
Appendix D

In 2014, the Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA) joined with the Arthur Liman Public Interest Program at Yale Law School to develop a national database of the policies and practices on what correctional officials call “restricted housing” and is frequently referred in the media as “solitary confinement.”  The result is this report, Time-in-Cell: The Liman-ASCA 2014 National Survey of Administrative Segregation in Prison, which provides information, as of the fall of 2014, on both the numbers and the conditions in restrictive housing nationwide.

Dislocation and Relocation: Women in the Federal Prison System and Repurposing FCI Danbury for Men
Anna Arons, Katherine Culver, Emma Kaufman, Jennifer Yun, Hope Metcalf, Megan Quattlebaum, and Judith Resnik (September 2014)

This report provides a window into ways in which the location of prisoners affects their opportunities and the disadvantages experienced by women in the federal prison system. In particular, the report tracks the impact of the decision to close the facility at Danbury FCI to women, and highlights ways in which the construction of a new facility at Danbury could incorporate gender-responsive programming for women.

Administrative Segregation, Degrees of Isolation, and Incarceration: A National Overview of State and Federal Correctional Policies
Hope Metcalf, Jamelia Morgan, Samuel Oliker-Friedland, Judith Resnik, Julia Spiegel, Haran Tae, Alyssa Work, Brian Holbrook (June 2013)

This report, conducted with the assistance of the Association of State Corrections Administrators (ASCA), surveyed the policies on administrative segregation that were in effect in 2013 in 46 states and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The Report concludes that administrative segregation throughout the United States shares the same basic features: criteria for placement give broad discretion to decision-makers; detention generally is open-ended, rather than for a fixed duration; confinement is close and restrictive; and access to contact with visitors and to activities is very limited. Looking at the rules sheds light on why the practice of administrative segregation has become so prevalent. The policies provide relatively little guidance about which concerns and what risks necessitate segregation, and under which circumstances or by which criteria an inmate should be returned to general population. Thus, the rules do not reflect how segregation is actually used, either in the jurisdictions where isolation remains commonplace or in those that, in recent years, have reduced their segregation populations.

Prison Visitation Policies: A Fifty State Survey
Chesa Boudin, Trevor Stutz, and Aaron Littman (November 2012)

This report, produced in collaboration with the Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA) includes a fifty-state survey of prison visitation regulations.. The report provides a window into the variety of policies in each state. Topics include the number of visitors permitted; the duration and frequency of visits; rules on persons eligible to visit; the procedures for obtaining authorization; and provisions for family visitation; and programs allowing “virtual visitation” via videoconference.