Solitary confinement, state by state (Mother Jones)
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Solitary confinement policiesInformation based on state prison departments' responses to questions from Mother Jones. All text in quotes is taken directly from responses. Map here: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/10/map-solitary-confinement-states
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StateTotal prison population (from BJS)Single-celled segregation (solitary)? (True=yes)Single-celled segregation (solitary) detailsIndeterminate segregation? (True=yes)Indeterminate segregation detailsGang/STG validation? (True=yes)Gang/STG validation detailsSegregation based on gang/STG status? (True=yes)Segregation based on gang/STG status details
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Alabama29261TRUEAverage length of stay in segregation unknown.TRUE"Segregation assignments are considered on a case by case basis as needed for institutional security. The decision to release to population is determined by segregation behavior as determined by segregation review board and warden."TRUEInmates are validated as they enter prison and then reviewed "on an as-necessary basis."FALSEInmates are not placed in segregation because of gang status.
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Alaska4953No response/unknownNo response No response/unknownThe length of time "depends on outcome of disciplinary hearing and reclassification/class." Inmates' statuses are reviewed every 90 days.TRUEInmates are screened using the Anchorage police department's validation process; an official validation policy is being written.FALSEInmates are not placed in segregation because of gang status, "only if they have violated any of the inmates standard of conduct."
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Arizona36444No response/unknownNo response No response/unknownNo response TRUE Inmates are validated using self-admission, tattoos, phone calls, mail, "STG-related symbolism," "STG-related documents," photographs, and confidential informants. Arizona prisons currently have 319 validated members of nine STGs.No response/unknownNo response
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Arkansas15040TRUEAverage length of stay in segregation unkown.TRUEInmates are held on a case-by-case, based on behavior, for "a period of time." TRUEInmates are identified as gang members based on self-admission, tattoos, pictures, correspondence, recorded telephone calls, "paraphernalia," and "information received from law enforcement agencies and confidential informants."
FALSEInmates are not placed in segregation because of gang status. "People earn their way into various segregation areas by their behavior."
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California155104TRUEAverage length of stay in segregation unkown. The average term in the Pelican Bay State Prison Security Housing Unit is 7.5 years.TRUEThe average term in the Pelican Bay State Prison Security Housing Unit is 7.5 years. TRUEInmates are validated based on three pieces of evidence of membership or association with a prison gang in the past six years. At least one item must show a "direct link" to a validated gang member or associate. View the policy <a href=http://www.motherjones.com/documents/452170-title-15#document/p223/a76967>here</a>.TRUEGang members are automatically placed in solitary.
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Colorado20763TRUEAverage length of stay in segregation unkown.TRUEInmates' segregation status "depends on their compliance with programs and behavioral standards." Reviews are held monthly; after one year inmates are interviewed by a deputy director of prisons.
TRUEGang idenitfication is used but details are "restricted information."FALSEInmates are not placed in segregation because of gang status, "only for rule violations."
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Connecticut18075FALSEOnly death-row inmates are placed in solitary confinement.FALSENo further policy details provided. TRUEInmates are designated as Security Risk Group members if they possess "any materials, symbols, colors or pictures of any identified security risk group" or behave in a way that is "uniquely or clearly associated" with those groups.
No response/unknownNo response
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District of ColumbiaN/ANo response/unknownNo response No response/unknownNo response No response/unknownNo response No response/unknownNo response
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Deleware6134TRUEAverage length of stay in segregation unkown.FALSE"By our policy, an inmate’s stay in segregation for rule violations cannot exceed 90 consecutive days. The determination is made by a disciplinary hearing officer."TRUEInmates are validated using a "point based validation system."FALSE No further policy details provided.
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Florida96956TRUEAverage length of stay in segregation unknown.TRUERelease from segregation is "dependent upon behavior as evaluated in regularly scheduled classification reviews."TRUEInmates are validated based on various sources including interviews; scars, marks, and tattoos; "gang-related literature, symbols, or paraphernalia"; police investigations; and court records. TRUEInmates are generally placed in segregation because of rule infractions, not gang status. But STG leaders may also be placed there.
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Georgia52598No response/unknownNo response No response/unknownNo response No response/unknownNo responseNo response/unknownNo response
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Hawaii5184TRUENo further policy details provided. FALSE"The time varies with each situation. It is based on disciplinary reasons and disposition of the matter. Behavior and threat also determines it as well as security or good government of institutions." TRUEInmates are validated using "an evidence-based scoring system."TRUEInmates are not placed in segregation because of gang status. "It is usually a result of behavior."
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Idaho6621TRUEWe house administrative segregation offenders in single-celled segregation. These are the offenders who, by their actions, have proven to be too dangerous to live with or around other offenders. TRUE"They are housed indeterminately. Each ad-seg offender is afforded a review of their case every 90-120 days by the case manager and the units Sergeant. They also receive an annual review by the ad-seg review committee chairman.."TRUEInmates who are suspected STG members are investigated. Validation is based upon "information that is gathered by acquaintances, recording mail, phone calls and any confidential information that may be available." No response/unknownNo response
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Illinois45496TRUEAverage length of stay in segregation unknown.TRUENo further policy details provided. No response/unknownNo response No response/unknownNo response
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Indiana25522TRUEFor inmates in disciplinary segregation, length of stay depends on charges and "prior conduct."TRUEInmates in administrative segregation have their statuses reviewed weekly for first two months, then monthy.TRUEInmates are validated through observation and reports. Yet "the specifics of how offenders are identified as security threat group affiliates is confidential."TRUEInmates are generally placed in segregation because of rule infractions, not gang status. But an inmate may be put in segregation if he's deemed a security threat.
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Iowa8675No response/unknownNo response FALSEThe length of time an inmate spends in segregation "depends on the violation to rules or why they are in segregation…or if they are waiting for an investigation to be completed."TRUEInmates are validated using a set of 10 factors. "The STG policy itself is confidential."FALSEInmates are not placed in segregation because of gang status. "Segregation is based upon specific adjudicated violations of our rules."
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Kansas8428TRUEAverage length of stay in segregation unkown.TRUETerms are defined on a case-by-case basis with "no defined time."TRUEInmates are validated based on two pieces of evidence, including self-admission, police documentation, tattoos, "gestures, posturing, language or jargon," wearing "clothing or hair in a style associated with a [STG]," and possessing "writings, drawings, graffiti or paraphernalia associated with a [STG]."FALSESegregation is based on behavior rather than gang validation.
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Kentucky18406TRUEAverage length of stay in segregation unkown.FALSEDisciplinary segregation terms can last up to 180 days per offense.TRUEGang validation is used, but is "classified as a secure policy and therefore the information contained in that policy is not available to the public."FALSEInmates are not placed in segregation because of gang status.
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Louisiana37037No response/unknownNo response No response/unknownNo response No response No response No response/unknownNo response
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Maine1988TRUEAbout 45 inmates are in the segregation unit.TRUEInmates are reviewed on a weekly basis. TRUEInmates are validated based on self-admission, tattoos, markings, "or any reports from community about gang connection."FALSE"Prisoners are only placed in segregation if and when they become a danger to themselves or someone else."
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Maryland21686TRUEAverage length of stay in segregation unkown.FALSESentences range from 30 to 365 days based on the violation.TRUEGang idenitfication is used yet "is security sensitive and confidential."FALSEInmates are not placed in segregation because of gang status. "Inmates on disciplinary segregation get there only after their case is heard and they are found guilty of violating rules."
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Massachusetts10547TRUENot all segregation units have single cell units. FALSEInmates statuses are reviewed weekly. TRUEGang/STG validation used, but the policy is not public.FALSENo policy details provided.
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Michigan42244TRUEAverage length of stay in segregation unknown.TRUEInmates in solitary have their statuses "reviewed on a set basis to determine eligibility to return to general population." TRUEInmates are validated based on several methods, including self-admission and "a prisoner’s possession or display of items relating to membership in an STG, including by-laws, chain of command, membership lists, symbols, colors, or pictures of an STG." No response/unknownNo policy details provided.
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Minnesota9158TRUELength of time in segregation depends on severity of infraction. Between April and June 2012, the average length of time in segregation was 29 days.FALSENo further policy details provided. TRUEInmates are validated using 10 measures of STG activity. FALSENo further policy details provided.
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Mississippi19542TRUEAverage length of stay in segregation unknown.TRUE"There are several types of segregation. Some are indefinite and others have time frames."TRUESTG coordinators identify and validate inmates "whose activities are gang related." Those inmates are "constantly monitored and tracked." FALSEInmates are not placed in segregation because of gang status.
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Missouri28163No response/unknownNo response No response/unknownNo response No response/unknownNo response No response/unknownNo response
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Montana3291TRUEThe length of stay in segregation is three months or longer, depending on behavior.FALSEMontana does not house inmates on an indeterminate basis. Terms depend on violation and behavior.TRUEInmates are validated using a point system. Criteria include self-admission, tattoos, graffiti, "possession of STG paraphernalia," "association with STG members or affiliates," and information from other agencies, courts, confidential informants, offenders, or the internet.
FALSEGang members are placed in segregation only for "rule violations that pose a threat to security."
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Nebraska4176TRUEThe average length of stay in segregation is unknown. FALSEOnly inmates on death row are kept in solitary for an indeterminate time.TRUEInmates are validated "through a validation scoring instrument."FALSEInmates are not placed in segregation because of gang status.
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Nevada11689No response/unknownNo response No response/unknownNo response No response/unknownNo response No response/unknownNo response
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New Hampshire2560TRUENew Hampshire calls the single-celled unit the "Special Housing Unit."TRUE"As long as the offender is deemed to be a threat they will remain in a restricted housing environment."FALSENo gang/STG validation policy, though gang activity is tracked.TRUEInmates may be placed in segregation due to gang/STG status "if the offender is deemed to be a threat to the institution based on our investigation."
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New Jersey23871TRUEAverage length of stay in segregation unknown.FALSEMaximum term in administrative segregation is one year per charge.TRUEThe state Department of Corrections says it has identified approximately 4,400 inmates as STG members through its validation process. FALSEInmates are not placed in segregation because of gang status.
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New Mexico6059No response/unknownNo response No response/unknownNo response No response/unknownNo response No response/unknownNo response
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New York54438TRUEOf the 4,300 inmates in disciplinary segregation, 1,400 live in two-man cells. The average stay in segregation for drug possession or use drugs is 123 days.FALSESolitary terms may be reduced based on behavior.TRUEGang affiliations are prohibited by the Inmate Code of Conduct.TRUESanctions for violating the anti-gang policy may include segregation and/or transfer to another facility.
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North Carolina37297TRUEAverage length of stay in segregation unknown.FALSE"We don’t house inmates on segregation for indeterminate amounts of time." TRUENo policy details provided "for security reasons."FALSEInmates are not placed in segregation because of gang status.
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North Dakota1308No response/unknownAverage length of stay in segregation unknown. No response/unknown"Some inmates must complete core correctional programs to become eligible for release" from segregation.TRUEInmates are identified as gang members "but not necessarily validated, as we don’t segregate inmates by gang affiliation or association." FALSEInmates are not placed in segregation because of gang status. "We do place inmates with poor adjustment or violent behavior in segregation and many of those inmates are gang members."
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Ohio47720TRUEIf the investigation results in no conduct report or charges, the STG inmate could be returned to general population within days. If the investigation results in a conduct report and guilty finding then the length of stay in segregation is based upon the inmates conduct and not the inmates gang affiliation.No response/unknownUnclear if solitary terms are indeterminate. "The length of term depends on the violation." TRUEInmates in STGs are assigned to one of three participation levels based on behavior: passive, active, or disruptive. A new inmate with a Crip tattoo, for example, would be identified as a “passive” gang member; this would not affect his security level or privleges.TRUEGang members may be placed in segregation for investigative purposes or as a result of rule violations.
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Oklahoma23703TRUEAverage length of stay in segregation unknown.TRUEInmates in administrative segregation have their statuses reviewed reviewed by the warden within 72 hours of placement. Reviews by the classifcation committee follow every 7 days for the first 2 months, then every 30 days.TRUEInmates are validated using self-admission, tattoos, "clothing and/or other paraphernalia or other indications of gang associations," participation "in delinquent/criminal activity with known gang member(s)," and information from "reliable" sources. FALSEInmates are not placed in segregation because of gang status.
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Oregon12948TRUEAverage length of stay in segregation unknown.FALSETerms may not exceed 180 days. FALSENo gang/STG validation policyFALSENot applicable
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Pennsylvania48552TRUE"We are not sure of the average length of stay but are better working to collect that info." TRUEMore than 80 inmates are being held indeterminately. There is no time limit. "The goal of the unit is to eventually return the inmate to general population." TRUEInmates are validated as they enter prison and then during annual reviews. Officials track gang-related incidents, question each inmate about gang affiliations, and review tattoos or marks that indicate gang involvement.TRUEGang-related incidents can result "in discipline through housing in the prison’s restricted housing unit for a specific period of time."
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Rhode Island3139TRUERhode Island does house some inmates in single-celled segregation units. No response/unknownLength of stay depends on infractions. Inmates in adminsitrative segregation have their statuses reviewed every 90 days; they can not be held only due to gang status. TRUEInmates are validated through self-admission, tattoos, hand signals, associations with gang members, and information from outside law enforcement agency, prison employees, or confidential informants.FALSEInmates are not placed in segregation because of gang status. "Inmates must violate rules that warrant discipline and sanctions that can include segregation."
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South Carolina22105No response/unknown"Due to policy restrictions I cannot discuss any details of how this is determined or how long inmates may stay in segregation."Un"Due to policy restrictions I cannot discuss any details of how this is determined or how long inmates may stay in segregation."TRUEGang idenitfication is used yet details are not disclosed "for security reasons."TRUEInmates are not placed in segregation because of gang status, only "as a result of validation or rules violations."
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South Dakota3023TRUESouth Dakota uses both single and double cells in administrative segregation, "but double-celling is the preferred option and is the most common option."FALSE"There is a system in place that limits the time inmates are in segregation."TRUEInmates are validated using "an 11-point validation process."FALSEInmates are not placed in segregation because of gang status. "It must be…as a result of rules violation or the inmate’s established pattern of behavior."
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Tennessee25345TRUEAverage length of stay in segregation unknown.TRUEInmates in administrative segregation have their statuses reviewed every 30 days.TRUEInmates are validated by a point scale; more than 10 points result in confirmation as a gang member. For example, an inmate may get eight points for a gang tattoo. If he was later found with gang literature, he would get an additional three points and would be designated as a gang member.TRUEInmates are not placed in segregation because of gang status. "An exception to this would be a documented gang leader that intelligence indicates is ordering disruptive activity."
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Texas159298TRUEAs of May 2012, the total number of Texas inmates in administrative segration totaled 8,407. Of those, 4,748 are confirmed STG members.TRUEGang members are released to general population only after voluntarily completing the Gang Renunciation and Disassociation program. Some inmates have remained in segregation for as long as 15 or 20 years.TRUEInmates are validated based on "tangible" evidence from mail or paraphernalia found during cell searches. TRUEMembers of 8 of the 12 STGs are automatically put in solitary. Members of the four remaining groups may be placed there, space permitting.
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Utah6199No response/unknownIt is unclear whether Utah has single-celled segregation units. "In the highest level of maximum security housing, inmates still have the ability to communicate with other offenders and with officers."No response/unknownInmates may be segregated in the "STG unit for upwards of a year while their behavior is monitored over time—after which the offender can be reviewed for placement in a transitional housing environment." TRUEImmates are validated using a scoring matrix based on several sources including tattoos, contraband, "STG-related literature," and the offender's history and reports. FALSEInmates are not placed in segregation because of gang status. "Segregation status is entirely behavioral based."
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Vermont1930TRUEThe maximum term in disciplinary segregation is 30 days per violation. FALSEInmates are not housed indeterminately. TRUE"When an inmate is found guilty of security threat group affiliation, the inmate will, without further hearing, be designated as a security threat group member" and may be subject to sanctions. FALSEInmates are only placed in segregation as a result of rules violations.
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Virginia34570TRUEAverage length of stay in segregation unknown.
No response/unknownUnclear if solitary terms are indeterminate. Disciplinary segregation is limited to 30 days; inmates receive a 15-day break if they have additional segregation time to serve. "Administrative segregation is reviewed every 7 days for the first 60 days, then at least every 90 days thereafter."TRUEGang idenitification is used, but "it is a security procedure that is excluded from disclosure."FALSEInmates are generally placed in segregation because of rule infractions, not gang status.
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Washington16808TRUE"About 2.6 percent of the offenders in Washington state are housed in single-cell units on any given day. Some are there for their own protection."TRUEThere is "a regular review process to determine if an offender in long-term segregation should be moved to a lower-custody unit. That’s one reason why we have a relatively small number of offenders in single-cell units."TRUEInmates are validated using three types of identification. "The most common form of identification is gang tattoos. About 20 percent of offenders are identified as gang members."FALSEInmates are not placed in segregation because of gang status. "It’s largely their behavior that determines their custody level."
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West Virginia5956TRUEMost inmates put in segregation for security reasons are held in single cells.TRUEInmates in segregation for rule violations receive terms no longer than 60 days per violation. Inmates in administrative segregation have their statuses "periodically reviewed to determine if their continuation in segregation is warranted."TRUEInmates are validated using physical evidence and face-to-face interviews.TRUEInmates are not placed in segregation because of gang status. Validated inmates are placed there if "we have information that indicates they are a threat to the safe, secure, smooth operation of the prison if allowed to remain in the general population."
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Wisconsin21460TRUEAverage length of stay in segregation unknown.FALSEInmates in segregation receive specific terms of 30 to 360 days in 30-day increments.TRUEAn inmate who participates in gang activity "or possesses any gang literature, creed, symbols or symbolisms is guilty of an offense." Officials "may determine on a case by case basis what constitutes an unsanctioned group activity."FALSEInmates are not placed in segregation because of gang status. "Inmates that engage in gang activities that present a risk to the security of the institution, staff or other inmate that result in discipline could be single celled in segregation as a disciplinary penalty or administratively confined."
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Wyoming1881TRUE"Inmates assigned to administrative segregation status shall remain so assigned for the shortest length of time necessary to achieve the purpose for which the assignment was prescribed."TRUEInmates who pose "an immediate and/or continuing threat to the safety, security, and orderly operation of the correctional facility" may be put in long-term solitary. "Release is not guaranteed at a specified time."TRUEInmates are identified as gang members through self-admission, tattoos, "possession of disruptive literature or paraphernalia that is associated with an STG," associating with gang members, or information from police or other inmates. An investigation is required to confirm gang status.TRUEInmates are not automatically put in segregation due to gang/STG status. However, inmates may be put in segregation for "engaging in recruitment or participating in STG-related activities" or for other behaviors "based upon their STG affiliation."
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COUNT (true)382042 13
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Solitary confinement data