Pelican Bay

Prisons
6:00 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Do California's Security Housing Units Reduce Prison Violence?

Looking into a SHU pod through a metal door.
Katie Orr Capital Public Radio

California’s prison system uses Security Housing Units, or SHUs, as a way to isolate alleged gang members from the general inmate population. But gangs remain a problem in prisons and the outcry over using solitary confinement for long periods of time is growing. Now some lawmakers are asking whether the SHUs are working.

Steven Czifra spent four years locked up in a Security Housing Unit. Isolated from other inmates, alone in his cell for 22 ½ hours a day, he said there wasn’t much too do.

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Prisons
11:16 am
Wed October 16, 2013

At Pelican Bay, A Look Inside California's Security Housing Units

Inmate Robert Hoff stands inside his cell in the Pelican Bay SHU
Katie Orr Capital Public Radio

Imagine spending 22 hours a day locked in a small, concrete room. That’s daily life for about four-thousand California prisons inmates. On a recent media tour, journalists got glimpse of that life on a visit to the Security Housing Units at Pelican Bay State Prison.

Nearly 1,200 men are housed in the complex of low, concrete buildings. To get to them you have to go pass through a series of heavy gates and doors.

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