Vera Institute’s Safe Alternative to Segregation Initiative (SAS) Calling for RFPs
Date:  12-12-2014

SAS seeking partnership with up to five states or corrections systems
The following call for RFPs was issued by Vera Institute’s Safe Alternative to Segregation Initiative (SAS). Applications will be accepted until 8:00 p.m. EST, January 30, 2015.

Segregated housing, sometimes known as solitary confinement, is a growing fiscal, safety, and human rights concern for all corrections departments. Vera’s Safe Alternatives to Segregation Initiative will partner with up to five state or local corrections systems to significantly reduce their reliance on segregated housing through the advancement of safe and effective alternatives.

Vera’s Safe Alternatives to Segregation Initiative (SAS) Initiative provides technical assistance to up to five state or local corrections systems selected through an open and competitive Request for Proposals (RFP. Selected sites will receive a full policy and practice review, data analysis to determine the drivers of the segregation population, and recommendations on policy and practice changes that will safely and effectively reduce the use of segregation in system facilities.

The initiative will be advised by an advisory council made up of practitioners from state or local corrections systems that have successfully reduced their reliance on segregated housing, as well as other experts in corrections management, criminal justice policy, and mental health, and special populations. Practitioners will be paired with selected sites to serve as peer mentors in the reduction effort. Council members will advise Vera on technical assistance priorities, best practices, and the development of trainings and publications.

Through the online Safe Alternatives to Segregation Resource Center (SASRC), Vera will provide the latest research, implementation guides, policy briefs, and current thinking from leaders in the field. Through this resource, Vera will also provide limited on-demand technical assistance to additional jurisdictions on request.

This work builds on the field and data expertise Vera developed through the Segregation Reduction Project’s five years of work with five state and local departments of corrections. It is supported in part by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance.

What is segregated housing and why should we reduce it?

Segregated housing has a long history in the U.S. criminal justice system. A founding principal of the nation’s first prison, the practice later became a strategy for handling prisoners deemed threats to the safety and security of facilities. In recent years, it has increasingly been used for prisoners who may not pose a threat to staff or other prisoners, but commit minor violations that are disruptive but not violent. A growing body of evidence suggests that holding people in isolation with minimal human contact for days, years, or in some instances decades, is counterproductive to public safety as well as exceptionally expensive. Long-term isolation can create or exacerbate serious mental health problems and assaultive or anti-social behavior, result in negative outcomes for institutional safety, and increase the risk of recidivism after release. ________________________________________ This project is supported by Grant No. 2014-DB-BX-K009 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the SMART Office. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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