Vera Issues New RFP

Posted by Edward Loughran
December 10, 2014

Vera Issues RFP for Corrections Departments Seeking Safe Alternatives to Segregation Corrections departments are increasingly using segregated housing, or solitary confinement, for prisoners not because they are deemed threats to facility safety and security, but for disruptive but nonviolent behavior, their own protection, or while awaiting paperwork after being transferred to a new facility. Prisoners are held in segregation for days, years, and in some instances, decades. A growing body of evidence suggests that segregation is not only expensive, but counterproductive to facility and public safety. Long-term segregation 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. To address the overreliance on segregation in correctional facilities, the Vera Institute of Justice (Vera), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice, is soliciting applications from state and local departments of corrections seeking technical assistance with the safe and effective reduction of their use of segregated prisoner housing. As part of its new Safe Alternatives to Segregation (SAS) Initiative, Vera will select up to five state or local corrections systems after a competitive bidding process. The initiative seeks to:

 • assist states and counties in reducing their use of segregation;

• develop, demonstrate, and evaluate alternatives to disciplinary, administrative, and protective custody segregation;

• raise awareness across all correctional institutions nationwide—prisons and jails—of alternatives to segregation;

• conduct evaluations and impact studies and make their findings known across the corrections field; and

• produce practitioner-focused guides to implementing alternative practices.

This new initiative expands on Vera’s Segregation Reduction Project, which since 2010 has worked with state and local departments of corrections in states including Washington, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania to reduce their reliance on segregation. More information about the SAS initiative, including the full RFP and guidelines to submitting an application, can be found on Vera’s website.

The Vera Institute of Justice is a research and policy organization that combines expertise in research, demonstration projects, and technical assistance to help leaders in government and civil society improve the systems people rely on for justice and safety.