Liman Center Research


The Liman Center at Yale Law School provides this research brief, Regulating Restrictive Housing: State and Federal Legislation on Solitary Confinement as of July 1, 2019. We provide an update on statutes enacted and proposed to limit the use of isolation in prisons and to require data collection and reporting.  

Liman Recommendations to the United States Commission on Civil Rights Women in Prison Recommendations for USCCR

Judith Resnik, Anna VanCleave, Alexandra Harrington, Molly Petchenik (March 22, 2019)

Liman Statement to the United States Commission on Civil Rights Women in Prison: Seeking Justice Behind Bars

Judith Resnik, Anna VanCleave, Alexandra Harrington, Molly Petchenik (February 22, 2019)

On February 22, 2019, the United States Commission on Civil Rights held a briefing entitled Women in Prison: Seeking Justice Behind Bars. The Commission invited experts to provide testimony on a range of issues affecting women in prison, including classification, family disruption, health and personal dignity, sexual abuse, discipline, and rehabilitative opportunities. Professor Resnik participated on a panel detailing the treatment of women while incarcerated. In advance of the hearing, the Liman Center provided a statement highlighting the use of solitary confinement for women in prison, as well as the practice of incarcerating women far from home and family. The Liman Center’s statement also recommended that the Commission study the implementation of the 2018 First Step Act and its effects on women in prison. At the briefing, Professor Resnik urged the commission to push for placement of prisoners closer to home and call for legislation that would conform the use of solitary confinement to the U.N.’s Nelson Mandela Rules, including a prohibition on the use of isolation for pregnant prisoners.

Following the briefing, the Liman Center submitted recommendations for next steps to the Commission. The recommendations include promoting state and federal legislation to limit or abolish the use of solitary confinement; calling on Congress to ensure implementation of the 2018 First Step Act; urging that federal prisoners are placed within 75 miles, rather than 500 miles, of their homes; creating a National Institute on Women in Detention; and building on progress in the states, many of which have enacted legislation to promote the dignity of incarcerated women. The Liman Center also provided the Commission with a list of 2018 legislation focused on women in  prison.

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). 

This Report is the fourth in a series of research projects co-authored by the Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA) and the Arthur Liman Center at Yale Law School. 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)

This monograph is related to Reforming Restrictive Housing: The 2018 ASCA-Liman Nationwide Survey of Time-in-Cell. In Working to Limit Restrictive Housing, 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)
In response to growing concerns about the prolonged isolation of death sentenced prisoners in the United States, the Arthur Liman Public Interest Program at Yale Law School has released a report examining the housing of death sentenced prisoners around the country. 

Arthur Liman Public Interest Program's Comments to the 2016 ACA Restrictive Housing Proposed Revisions (January 19, 2016)

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)

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.

 

Yale Law Journal Online Forum: Reactions to Time-In-Cell

Time-In-Cell: Isolation and Incarceration, 125 Yale Law Journal Forum, by Sarah Baumgartel, Johanna Kalb, & Judith Resnik (February 2016)

Only Once I Thought About Suicide, 125 Yale Law Journal Forum, by Reginald Dwayne Betts (February 2016)

Worse Than Death, 125 Yale Law Journal Forum, by the Honorable Alex Kozinski (February 2016)

The Liman Report and Alternatives to Prolonged Solitary Confinement, 125 Yale Law Journal Forum, by Jules Lobel (February 2016)

Time-In-Cell: A Practitioner’s Perspective, 125 Yale Law Journal Forum, by Ashbel T. Wall (February 2016)

Staying Alive: Reforming Solitary Confinement in U.S. Prisons and Jails, by Marie Gottschalk (February 2016)

 

 

Liman Statement for the Colson Task Force on Criminal Justice Reform: Women in Detention: The Need for National Reform
Johanna Kalb, Judith Resnik (March 2, 2015)

Isolation and Reintegration: Punishment Circa 2014
Hope Metcalf, Judith Resnik, Megan Quattlebaum (January 6, 2015)

On April 3-4, 2014 the Liman Program hosted Seventeenth Annual Liman Colloquium, Isolation and Reintegration: Punishment Circa 2014 , which was devoted to remedying the harms of incarceration. The assembled group included several directors of state prison systems, as well as lawyers who bring lawsuits against prisons, judges who respond to such lawsuits, and professionals from diverse disciplines and from the non-profit world. This collection of materials, which was provided as a starting point for the discussion, describes current patterns of incarceration and explores interventions designed to reduce the degree to which correctional facilities maintain order through the isolation of prisoners, both through the locating of prison facilities and the placement of people within them.

Liman Statement on Women in Detention: The Need for National Agenda
Johanna Kalb, Judith Resnik, Megan Quattlebaum with the assistance of Yale Law Students Emma Kaufman, Devon Porter, Jennifer Jun (December 9, 2014)

The Liman Program submitted this statement focusing on the civil and human rights of incarcerated women to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights. Drawing on the Liman program’s recent research and advocacy, the statement brings into focus the specific challenges faced by women prisoners with respect to classification, placement, health, safety, and work.

Dislocation and Relocation: Women in the Federal Prison System and Repurposing FCI Danbury for Men, September 2014
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.

Liman Senate Statement Reassessing Solitary Confinement
Hope Metcalf, Judith Resnik (February 2014)

The statement written on the basis of the findings of the Liman Program’s 2013 Administrative Segregation, Degrees of Isolation, and Incarceration: A National Overview of State and Federal Correctional Policies and details how corrections departments define the criteria for placement in administrative segregation, the processes for determining who falls within those criteria, some of the rules governing contact while in isolation, and the provisions for exit.

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)

The 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

This Feature presents a summary of findings from a survey of prison visitation policies in the fifty states and in the system run by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). The lives of prisoners and their families are deeply affected by visitation policies and, to date, there has been no comprehensive effort to compare these policies across all of the fifty states.

Visiting Room: A Response to Prison Visitation Policies: A Fifty –State Survey, 32 Yale Law & Policy Review 191, by Giovanna Shay (2013)

Why do they Do It That Way?: A Response to Prison Visitation Policies: A Fifty –State Survey, 32 Yale Law & Policy Review 199, by Ashbel T. Wall II (2013)

An Endangered Necessity: A Response to Prison Visitation Policies: A Fifty-State Survey, 32 Yale Law & Policy Review 205, by David Fathi (2013)

Taking Stock and Moving Forward to Improve Prison Visitation Practices: A Response to Prison Visitation Policies: A Fifty-State Survey, 32 Yale Law & Policy Review 211, by Philip M. Genty (2013)

Senate Judiciary Committee Bureau of Prisons Oversight Hearing
Judith Resnik, Hope Metcalf, Megan Quattlebaum (November 2012)

The statement discusses how, upon learning about the BOP’s proposal to limit placement opportunities for women in the Northeast, the Liman Program began efforts to map where facilities for federal prisoners were and to identify the roles that gender and jurisdictions of sentencing play when considering options for placements of incarcerated individuals. Second, we provide a brief overview of research demonstrating that incarcerated individuals who have opportunities for education and who can maintain ties with their families and communities are more successful while in prison and upon release.

 

Overcriminalization and Excessive Punishment: Uncoupling Pipelines to Prison
Hope Metcalf, Sia Sanneh (July 2012)

This report was developed from a workshop co-sponsored by the American Bar Association and John Jay College of Criminal Justice. In December 2011, a group of approximately forty officials, scholars, and practitioners gathered to discuss the phenomenon commonly referred to as “mass incarceration.” The conversation focused on three areas, all of which are fueling rising prison populations: (1) over-criminalization through the erosion of intentionality; (2) criminalizing adolescent misbehavior in schools and on the streets; and (3) excessive punishment and control of those convicted of criminal behavior.

Why the Local Matters: Federalism, Localism, and Public Interest Advocacy (2009)

On March 6 and 7, 2008, the Arthur Liman Public Interest Program at Yale Law School hosted the Eleventh Annual Liman Public Interest Colloquium, Liman at the Local Level: Public Interest Advocacy and American Federalism. Scholars, advocates, students, judges, and government officials explored the role of actors at all levels of governance across the history of public interest advocacy in the United States and transnationally.4 This volume widens the conversation and brings the in-person discussions at the Colloquium to a broader audience in print form.

Liman Center Newsletter


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Liman Reports


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