What Is Ad Seg In Prison?

Ad Seg or administrative segregation is important for the safety of the prison staff, security, volunteers, etc. What is administrative segregation (ad seg) like for a prison inmate? Is it really that bad?

 What Is Ad Seg In Prison?
What Is Ad Seg In Prison?

Administrative segregation, also known as ad seg, separates prisoners from the general population in prisons. This form of segregation is temporary and lasts until the prisoners undergo an assessment of their behavior with appropriate housing. Administrative segregation aims to ensure the safety of prison staff, including volunteers, security personnel, contract staff, and other individuals.

This article will provide a comprehensive guide to the procedures of ad seg in prisons based on the regulations outlined in WAC 137-32.

Reasons for Placing Prisoners in Ad Seg

The decision to place prisoners in an ad seg depends on various situations. The following circumstances may lead to a prisoner being placed in administrative segregation:

  • Security threats to prison staff and other individuals
  • Protection of the individual from security staff
  • Individuals who are waiting for a transfer to a more secure environment
  • High risk of escape
  • Investigation into threatening behavior

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Mission Housing Administrator (MHA)

The responsibility for supervising the entire administrative segregation process lies with the Mission Housing Administrator (MHA). The MHA manages segregation through individual electronic files and conducts regular audits to ensure accuracy using segregation management reports.

Supervision of Individuals

Before placing individuals in ad seg, the administration observes them in the general population under the lowest custody level. This practice continues until they observe a behavioral change. It is important to note that the perception of high-risk factors, such as alcohol possession, tattooing, refusal to submit to urinalysis (UA), bringing in cell phones, or hiding during counting, does not automatically lead to placement in ad seg. Physical threats must be evident before placing inmates in administrative segregation.

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Medical Requirements Before Placing Inmates in Ad Seg

According to the procedure, inmates must undergo a medical assessment in the Health Services department before being placed in an ad seg. However, they may immediately transfer from the general population to administrative segregation if there is a high risk of danger from the prisoner. In such cases, the authorizing staff must report to the health services department and inform them that a medical assessment of the prisoner has yet to be conducted, prompting them to perform a medical screening.

Authorization for Placement in Ad Seg

Several employees have the authority to place individuals in ad seg. The Segregation Management system assists the decision, which utilizes an individual's electronic file. The following employees are involved in transferring individuals from the general population to the ad seg:

  • Superintendent/designee
  • Associate Superintendent
  • Captain
  • Lieutenant
  • Correctional Program Manager (CPM)
  • Correctional Mental Health Program Manager (CMHPM)
  • Correctional Unit Supervisor (CUS)
  • Correctional Mental Health Unit Supervisor (CMHUS)
  • Intelligence and Investigation Unit (IIU) Investigator 3
  • Facility Duty Officer
  • Shift Sergeant at a stand-alone Level 2 facility

Approval for Placement in Ad Seg

The Superintendent/designee approves placing an individual in ad seg. They must provide approval and sign the necessary documents for segregation within two working days. If the Superintendent/designee is absent, other employees, such as the Associate Superintendent of a level 3 or higher facility or the Correctional Program Manager (CPM) of a stand-alone level 2 facility, can approve.

Ad-Seg Hearing Officer

After approval is granted, the superintendent hires an ad seg hearing officer to review the decision to place an individual in ad seg. The hearing officer must be a level 3 or higher facility Correctional Specialist or Classification Counselor 3 or above at stand-alone Level 2 facilities.

Ad-Seg Hearing Officer Reviews

The review process for ad seg starts with an informal review, which must be conducted within two business days of the placement. The second review, known as the intermediate review, should occur within 14 days, and the final review should occur within 30 days of the placement.

The ad-seg hearing officer must notify the individual at least two days before the intermediate and final reviews. Throughout the process, the time spent in close observation is called ad-seg time.

If the superintendent transfers the individual from the ad seg back to the general population, the individual must be notified 24 hours in advance. Additionally, the superintendent should provide them with a copy of the decision from the segregation management section.


The entire process of placing individuals in ad seg is fully documented through individual electronic files in the segregation management system. If electronic documentation is not possible, they must use specific documents such as DOC 05-101 administrative segregation referral, DOC 05-092 administrative segregation review, or DOC 17-075 segregation authorization.

The segregation unit employees are responsible for maintaining and initiating segregation reports or electronic files daily. Furthermore, all documents should be transferred to the individual's electronic file and communicated to them at least 24 hours before the intermediate review.


Extending an individual's time in ad seg beyond 30 days is only done in exceptional cases. The superintendent can appeal for a 7-day extension after the individual has served 30 days in the ad seg. This appeal must be submitted to the Mission Housing Administrator using the extension section of the segregation management system.

The authorities review the appeal carefully and decide based on specific circumstances. If the extension appeal is approved, it becomes the duty of the ad-seg hearing officer to update the individual every seven days from the extended date.


Individuals undergoing the ad seg placement process can appeal the decisions made. They must submit their appeal in written form within ten days after the decision has been made. Upon receiving the written appeal, the superintendent will review it and provide a written response within 30 days.


The management and review procedures outlined in this article for administrative segregation are based on WAC 137-32. This placement procedure covers extensions, security and safety of prison staff and other individuals, reviews, and documentation.

The ad-seg hearing officer plays a significant role in overseeing the process and making critical decisions based on the individual's behavior and the on-ground situation. The ad seg practice not only protects and ensures the safety of prison staff but also provides an opportunity for the individuals placed in ad seg to work on self-improvement and personal growth.

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