SOLITARY CONFINEMENT IN RHODE ISLAND

RIDOC Policies

Throughout this site and in various resources, isolating prisoners in their cells for over 22 hours a day is called solitary confinement. 

 

The Rhode Island Department of Corrections (RIDOC) calls this treatment restrictive housing.

In restrictive housing, prisoners are in an 8-by-10 foot cell for 22-24 hours a day.

 

Restrictive housing takes two primary forms -- administrative and disciplinary confinement -- as well as transitional confinement.
 

Administrative Confinement:

  • "Demonstrates chronic inability to adjust to the general population;

    • Indicates maximum personal protection is required;

    • Constitutes a serious threat to the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI);

    • Is potentially dangerous to him/herself or others; Poses a serious escape risk;

    • Indicates that an immediate mental health evaluation is necessary, and the inmate cannot remain in general population pending that evaluation;

    • Or Indicates an enemy issue or has been charged with a highly publicized/particular heinous act (e.g., high profile murder, sexual assault or murder of a minor), and cannot be held in general population while the investigation into potential placement in Protective Custody is being conducted"

  • Prisoners get one visit and one ten-minute phone call per week

  • 90 days to indefinite time in solitary confinement, case reviewed every 90 days

Disciplinary Confinement:

  • Formerly called segregation, more restrictive treatment than administrative confinement

  • Used for inmates who are found guilty of a disciplinary infraction or when other forms of confinement would cause harm

  • Prisoners may only receive legal or professional visits and no phone calls for at least 30 days

  • 1-365 days in solitary confinement 

Transitional Confinement:

  • New term after Solitary Study Commission 2016-17

  • Formerly Close Confinement, incarcerated individuals classified to this status are provided "the supervision and programming required to prepare them for their return to General Population from Restrictive Housing

  • Minimum of two hours per day out-of-cell, five days per week (excluding weekends and olidays)

  • RIDOC does not consider this classification Restrictive Housing, even though individuals' out of cell time is restricted on weekends and holidays

In 2019, RIDOC Director Patricia Coyne-Fague noted in her testimony to the RI House Finance Committee that when considering modern correctional practices, "keeping people in cells 23 hours a day is not the way to go." 

Yet RIDOC does just that.

To learn more:

RIDOC's website outlines the conditions of confinement policies and the privileges implied in each confinement status.