Keramet Reiter F'18

Keramet  Reiter
Associate Professor
Criminology, Law and Society and School of Law
University of California, Irvine

ACLS Fellowship Program 2018
Assistant Professor
Criminology, Law and Society and School of Law
University of California, Irvine
Walking the Line: Transformation of Everyday Life in Long-Term Solitary Confinement

In the 2010s, states like California, Colorado, Illinois, and Washington drastically reduced the numbers of state prisoners held in long-term solitary confinement. In some cases, states entirely eliminated harsh isolation conditions, reversing decades of abusive and punitive policies. “Walking the Line” examines these reforms. Part One analyzes the institutional infrastructures that facilitate reform and argues that charismatic leadership drove the most significant and sustained reforms in states like Colorado and Washington. Part Two focuses on how prison staff define who ends up in solitary confinement, categorizing people as mad or bad. Part Three explores how staff working in solitary confinement experience institutionalization. “Walking the Line” interweaves and interprets nearly 200 prisoner and staff interviews and hundreds of hours of observation completed in a variety of state solitary confinement units in the 2010s.