Inside Pelican Bay State Prison

The following photos provide an inside glimpse into the Security Housing Units (SHUs), or solitary confinement units, at Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP).

Jean Casella and James Ridgeway of Solitary Watch describe the inhumane conditions at the notorious prison in a Mother Jones article, stating:

At Pelican Bay, the state’s first and most notorious supermax, the 1,500 occupants of the Security Housing Unit (SHU) and Administrative Housing Unit spend 22.5 hours a day alone in windowless cells measuring about 7 x 11 feet. The remaining 90 minutes are spent, also alone, in bare concrete exercise pens. With no phone calls allowed, and only the rare noncontact visit, these prisoners, like those at ADX and Texas’ Allan Polunsky Unit, can only access the world outside their cells via their “feeding slots.” And their only interactions with fellow prisoners consists of shouting through steel mesh—until the guards order them to shut up.

The following photos provide an inside glimpse into life inside PBSP’s SHU:

 

 

 

 

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*Page compiled by Lisa Dawson

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