Examining Race and Gender Disparities in Restricted Housing Placements

This study is funded by the W.E.B. DuBois Fellowship Program from the National Institute of Justice and will be conducted in partnership with Sam Houston State University.

Little is known about who is placed in restrictive housing and under what conditions. Although this practice is used to isolate inmates who pose a risk to the operation and security of an institution, assessments of “risk” underlying placement decisions are often made on the basis of race and gender. The current study examines restrictive housing placement decisions to generate a broader understanding of racial and gender disparities in punishment. It will do so by: 1) producing impactful scholarship as part of a long-term research agenda; and 2) developing strategies to improve fairness in correctional decision-making.

This study will analyze administrative records on all inmates released from prison in a southwestern state between 2011 and 2014. Specifically, this study will assess whether there are racial, ethnic, and gender disparities in: 1) prisoners’ placements into restrictive housing; 2) placements into particular types of restrictive housing (administrative segregation, disciplinary segregation, protective custody, mental health segregation, and medical segregation); 3) the reasons provided for these placements; and 4) length of time spent there.


Florida State University Principal Investigator: Jillian Turanovic, Ph.D.

Sam Houston State University Principal Investigator: Melinda Tasca, Ph.D.

Dates: 2017

Funding Agency: Sam Houston State University/National Institute of Justice’s W.E.B. DuBois Fellowship Program

Funding Amount: $100,000