Mapping Solitary Confinement

The project: background

The Mapping Solitary Confinement project seeks to draw a picture of how, when, why and for how long people can be placed in solitary confinement (also known as 'segregation' 'isolation' and 'secure care', amongst other names) in different countries across the world, and what their daily lives look like. The project also aims to identify common patterns and issues as well as good practice, and help inform reform efforts.

For the purpose of this project, questionnaires covering many aspects of solitary confinement (defined as 22+ hours a day in cell) were sent to individuals and organisations across the world. We asked what the practice was called, what were the legal and administrative bases for isolating people from their peers, its duration, daily regimes and, where available, data on the extent of its use. The resulting 'country reports' are presented on this page. 

Key findings from a selection of country report are presented in a report published in January 2024. Read the report.

The project is managed and edited by Dr Sharon Shalev

The Map

This interactive world map provides links to specific countries and regions that have provided a country report relating to the use of solitary confinement. Click on each marker to identify a specific location and scroll down to access the attached country report.

To provide further information on the use of solitary confinement in a specific country or for any other issue, please contact:

Notes and acknowledgements

The country reports vary in the level of detail that the authors were able to provide, and some regions of the world are covered more than others. However, the database offered is intended as a living instrument, with new and updated information added as it becomes available.

We are extremely grateful to the authors of country reports, who volunteered their time and expertise to this project. Sincere thanks also to the many organisations and individuals who helped disseminate our request for information. Particular thanks to the the Research Group in Criminology and Criminal Justice Systems at Universitat Pompeu Fabra Barcelona, especially Professor Elena Larrauri, Dra. Úrsula Ruiz Cabello, and their students, for helping investigate prison isolation practices in Spanish-speaking countries.

Country reports are free to access and download. We ask however that you properly cite your source along the lines suggested on each report. We would also appreciate copies of resulting publications.

Map built by Social Spark
Concept by Louis Williams