RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia is participating in an effort aimed at reducing the use of segregation and restrictive housing in its prisons.
The Virginia Department of Corrections says Virginia is one of five states that have recently joined the Safe Alternatives to Segregation Initiative of the Vera Institute of Justice.
The department says Virginia will be assessed on how it uses restrictive housing and then will work with Vera to come up with ways to reduce its use.
Virginia officials say they are already working to reduce prisons' use of restrictive housing. Virginia's Step-Down Program, which started in 2011, provides incentives for offenders in restrictive housing to move into the general prison population.
The partnership with Vera will last 21 months and be funded primarily by a federal grant awarded to the group.