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CCE Releases "More Data is Needed on the Use of Solitary Confinement in D.C."

New Issue Brief Explains Years-long CCE Effort to Get Data about DC Jail's Restrictive Housing Use, Notes Concerning Trends in the Limited Information Provided.

March 15, 2024 – Today the Council for Court Excellence (CCE) released an issue brief entitled, "More Data is Needed on the Use of Solitary Confinement in D.C." The issue brief provides an overview of CCE's efforts to get information and data about the use of solitary confinement - often referred to as restrictive housing or segregation - in D.C. Department of Corrections (DOC) facilities. It goes on to summarize the limited data that was provided after more than two years of protracted negotiations, and describes the inquiries that remain unanswered by DOC. 


While incomplete, the data that was provided raises coincerns about practices within DOC in recent years. As just one example, DOC reported that in 2021 the average length of a resident's stay in segregated housing was 49 days, which is over three times longer than the United Nations considers the maximum time a person should be held in solitary confinement. 


CCE was unable to get any responsive information about several important issues including: the demographics of who is being held in disciplinary or administrative segregation; the use of metal or soft restraints on DOC residents; and suicide or bodily harm attempts by those in segregation. 


"Given that the District is currently in the process of designing what is supposed to be an innovative, holistic, and healing-focused facility to replace the D.C. Jail and there is pending legislation seeking to limit use of segregation, it is important that the public and policymakers have accurate information about DOC's current and historical use of segregated housing," said CCE's Executive Director Misty Thomas. "In order to develop smart, safe, and humane policies around this issue, D.C. leaders and residents deserve to understand who is being held in isolation, what policies guide why they are there, and under what circumstances they stay there."

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