Since the 1980s, departments of corrections have sharply increased the use of segregation as a discipline and management tool. In effect, segregation is a secondary sentence imposed by the correctional facility—one that follows long after and usually is unrelated to the conviction for which the person is incarcerated. The consequences of holding an individual in these conditions over time may include new or exacerbated mental health disturbances, assaultive and other antisocial behaviors, and chronic and acute health disorders. In fact, studies show that prisoners who are released from segregation directly to the community reoffend at higher rates than general-population prisoners. Policy changes that will reduce the use and long-term impact of segregation will benefit not only the staff and prisoners in these units but also ultimately the well-being of facilities, systems, and the community.

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