SHU

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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Prisons
7:26 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Lawmakers Take Closer Look at State Prison SHUs

A Security Housing Unit cell in Pelican Bay State Prison.
Credit Katie Orr / Capital Public Radio

Members of the California legislature are focusing their attention on Security Housing Units within state prisons. Katie Orr has details on a hearing held today in Sacramento.

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Government & Politics
5:17 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Prison Hunger Strike Supporters Take Fight to Capitol

A simulated SHU prison reform advocates displayed at the State Capitol on Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Credit Katie Orr / Capital Public Radio

As an inmate hunger strike in California stretches on, prison reform advocates want the rest of us to know what it’s like inside a SHU. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa spends 22 1/2 hours a day in Security Housing Unit, or SHU. It’s a room the size of a parking spot. Jamma has been living that reality for the past 29 years. He’s an inmate at Pelican Bay State Prison and is participating in a hunger strike to protest the use of long term solitary confinement. 

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