Facts & Stats: Solitary confinement in the Federal Bureau of Prisons
Editor’s note: These statistics are compiled from the written and oral testimony of Bureau of Prisons Director Charles Samuels before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights on Feb. 25, 2014:
- Approximately 9,400 inmates in solitary confinement or “restrictive housing”; 15% of those inmates are held in solitary for 90 days or longer
- 413 inmates are held at the ADX super max prison in Florence, Colorado. “47% have killed other individuals, and that is a combination of them murdering individuals before they have come into the system and they have either murdered other inmates and/or staff within the system. Those individuals require longer periods of placement in restrictive housing,” said Samuels.
- 197 women (or 1.4% of the female inmate population) in “restrictive housing” or solitary confinement
- No women are held in the ADX super max. “We do not house any females at the ADX nor do we require, for the record, to have that type of housing for female inmates. Only for males,” said Samuels.
- 62 juveniles sentenced to BOP custody are all housed in private prisons. “Part of our requirement with the agreement that we have with these facilities is to provide 50 hours of various programs and to ensure that individualized training is also provided for these individuals under our care,” said Samuels.
- 1 juvenile, as of Feb. 25th, was held in solitary confinement. “The requirement that we have is that any individual placed in restrictive housing who’s a juvenile, there should be 50 minute checks done. We are ensuring that they are also working with a multi-disciplinary committee to ensure that all of the issues are assessed, addressed, and that we are removing the individual out of restrictive housing at the earliest date possible,” said Samuels.
- Samuels said there is “no specific limit” to the amount of time a juvenile can be held in solitary confinement. “But if an individual is going to go beyond five days in restrictive, we require that there are discussions held to at least justify why there is a continued need. And as I’ve indicated, right now we only have one individual, and it should only be used under the rarest circumstances when there is the belief that there is going to be potential harm to the individual and/or to others. But we do not support long-term placement of any juvenile in restrictive housing,” said Samuels.
- BOP incarcerates 215,000 inmates
- 174,000 inmates are held in 119 federal prisons
- 42,000 inmates are held in private prisons, residential re-entry centers, local jails, or home confinement
- There are 14,008 female inmates in the Bureau of Prisons’ custody
- Bureau of Prisons is operating at 32% over-capacity system-wide, 51% over-capacity in high-security prisons, and 41% over-capacity at medium security prisons
- In 2013, 120 federal prison staff were “seriously assaulted” by inmates
- In 2013, nearly 200 inmates were “seriously assaulted” by other inmates
- 1 out of 5 inmates at federal high security prisons is affiliated with a gang
- WhatTheFolly.com: Spotlight: Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on solitary confinement
- judiciary.senate.gov: Written testimony of Bureau of Prison Director Charles Samuels on solitary confinement – Feb. 25, 2014 (PDF)
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Sen. Mazie Hirono’s Q&A w/ BOP Director Charles Samuels on solitary confinement
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Sen. Dick Durbin’s Q&A w/ BOP Director Charles Samuels on solitary confinement
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Testimony of Bureau of Prison Director Charles Samuels on solitary confinement – Feb. 25, 2014