Del. Phases Out Solitary Confinement In Prisons

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Delaware has effectively done away with what’s known as solitary confinement of prison inmates.

The Department of Correction had been working for years to end the practice of ‘restrictive housing’ as a disciplinary measure. Commissioner Claire DeMatteis says reforms were based on practices that are shown to create safer environments for officers, inmates, counselors and healthcare providers in the prison system.


Inmates are still held accountable for dangerous behavior.

“These reforms required new ways of thinking and new investments in programs,” DeMatteis said. “Thanks to strong support from Governor Carney and the General Assembly and buy-in from correctional officers, wardens, and treatment providers we have ended this outdated and counterproductive practice while making our prions safer.”

Studies have shown that solitary confinement or segregation from the prison population had a ‘profound negative psychological impact’ on offenders.


Community Legal Aid Society and the American Civil Liberties Union had also filed litigation to end restrictive housing. Those organizations collaborated with DOC in developing reforms.

“Our Wardens, Correctional Officers, counselors, and healthcare providers have embraced our restrictive housing reforms because they know from experience that being firm and fair in a prison includes an emphasis on programming, recreation, and social contact because that more well-rounded approach improves safety and supports rehabilitation,” Bureau of Prisons Chief Shane Troxler said.  “I am proud that the Delaware DOC has been a leader in using proven practices, first-class training, and the latest technology to protect our facilities while expanding treatment and programs to enhance inmate wellbeing,”