Remote video URL
Prison Research Meets Practice: A Conversation on Restrictive Housing

Join the Urban Institute for a conversation on restrictive housing and how social science research and lessons from on-the-ground implementation can move reform forward. A controversial practice in corrections policy, restrictive housing typically isolates an incarcerated person to their cell for all but an hour per day, sometimes for months or years. Although correctional administrators often argue that restrictive housing makes facilities safer, research has shown it can result in a plethora of negative health outcomes in those who experience it.

This discussion pairs Keramet Reiter, a professor with more than 20 years of experience researching solitary confinement, with Sara Sullivan, a US Department of Justice policy advisor who has worked with numerous corrections systems to reduce or eliminate the use of restrictive housing. The conversation will focus on how research and practice can come together to reform restrictive housing in prisons and jails.



  • Keramet Reiter, Professor and Vice Chair of Criminology, Law, and Society, University of California, Irvine
  • Sara Sullivan, Senior Policy Advisor, US Department of Justice
  • David Pitts, Interim Associate Vice President and Senior Research Fellow, Urban Institute (moderator)



The Urban Institute’s Prison Research and Innovation Initiative makes efforts to build evidence and spur innovation to make prisons more humane, safe, and rehabilitative environments. With support from Arnold Ventures, this Initiative leverages research and evidence to shine a much-needed light on prison conditions and pilot strategies to promote the well-being of people who are confined and work behind bars. In this series, Prison Research Meets Practice, Urban will draw on the expertise of researchers and practitioners to bridge communication divides, draw national attention to the problem of prisons in America, and ignite change. Please join the Urban Institute for these conversations between practitioners and researchers to better understand the issues we face in the quest to #TransformPrisons.


For more information on the Urban Institute’s funding principles, go to

We strive to host inclusive, accessible events that enable all individuals to engage fully. Please email [email protected] if you require any accommodations or have any questions about this event.

Date & Time Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Related materials

Urban Institute Speakers
  • Vice President, Justice Policy
Related Content