At Least 67,000 People Were Put in Solitary Confinement in U.S. Last Year

Report shows at least 67,000 U.S. inmates were put in solitary confinement in 2015.

prison cell

Photo of prison bars.

prison cell

A 2016 report released Wednesday from Yale Law School and the Association of State Correctional Administrators said at least 67,442 inmates were in some form of restricted housing as of fall last year. Steps have been taken to reduce solitary confinement practices, whether on a state level or President Obama’s ban of solitary confinement for juveniles in federal prisons.

In the fall of 2015 the report found 67,442 inmates were in some kind of “restricted housing” for at least 22 hours a day 15 days, or more, in a row. This included the number of people in “double-cell solitary,” according toThe Marshall Project, where two inmates are together. The report did not include people kept in restricted housing in juvenile, military, or federal immigration detention centers, or local and county jails.

Judith Resnik, the Arthur Liman Professor of Law at Yale Law School and a co-author of the report said, “The official position of so many jurisdictions now is that they want less solitary. The people closest to running prisons are telling us this is not a wise thing to do for the safety and well-being of prisoners, or the safety of staff and the communities to which they’ll return.”

Louisiana and Utah are the states with the highest prison population in solitary confinement with about 14 percent. Of the inmates in solitary confinement 29 percent were there for one to three months. Texas is the state with the most inmates held in solitary confinement for six years or longer. Nearly 3,000 prisoners in the U.S. have been held in solitary confinement for six years or longer and more than half of the prisoners are in Texas.

The report also found more people of color were held in solitary confinement, for example, despite Hispanic men only being 42 percent of the population of male prisoners they make up 86 percent of male prisoners in restricted housing.

Read the report here.

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