U.S. Funds Studies on Solitary, Other Prison Issues

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The Justice Department’s National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) announced 10 awards totaling more than $6.3 million to fund research on parental incarceration, restrictive prisoner housing such as solitary confinement, reentry, and correctional officer suicide. BJA director Denise O’Donnell announced the restrictive housing awards at the Safe Alternatives to Segregation (SAS) Advisory Council meeting in New York.  The council will provide input and guidance as the five SAS Initiative sites—the corrections departments in Middlesex County, N.J., Nebraska, New York City, North Carolina, and Oregon take steps to implement recommendations for reform from the Vera Institute of Justice.

Vera will receive more than $1.4 million to assess the use of step-down programs and the impact of working in restrictive housing on the well-being of correctional officers. The University of Cincinnati will be awarded $452,452 to examine the impact of restrictive housing on inmates, staff, and correctional facilities. Florida State University will receive $730,615 to examine the impact of restrictive housing on inmates’ behavior, mental health and likelihood of recidivism, as well as the views of correctional administrators and personnel on use of restrictive housing and its alternatives. Arizona State University will receive $631,559 to examine the effects of isolation in restrictive housing placements and its impact on the mental health of inmates and staff. Other entities getting grants include New York University, Bowling Green State University, Pennsylvania State University, and Northeastern University.

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