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  #51  
Old 07-23-2006, 01:48 AM
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Thank you for sharing this. It is good to have an insiders view of what a SHU is really like. I have a penpal who is in the SHU at Pelican Bay, I don't know how long he has actually been in the SHU, he hasn't volunteered and I haven't asked, but I get the impression it's been awhile. He doesn't really say anything about what it is like other than boring.

Like someone above asked, what can we do to get the policies changed?

My pen pal is serving 25 to life and his comment was that there is a very good possibilty, if he is never paroled, that he will spend the rest of his natural life in the SHU. That's not OK.

Leaving lights on for 24 hours a day would and should be considered a human rights violation, the world has been critical of the US Military for using that very same tactic on suspected terrorists who are in their custody, the UN declared it to be a violation and that they couldn't do it. So why then, can our correctional institutions do it to American citizens without any repercussions?
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  #52  
Old 07-25-2006, 11:58 AM
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Not all inmates in the Shu are there because they are associated as priosn gang members.. My husband has been in the shu since march of 94. He was sent there for killing a sgt. while in priosn. I do however agree that some of the men in the shu are pushed into admitting to things they have no knowledge of. I really appreciate this forum. It is a sense of support I have not ever known.
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  #53  
Old 07-26-2006, 04:19 PM
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My friend is in the SHU for an "undeterminant" amount of time for supposedly doing business with the Mexican Mafia. Although he's never been convicted of that crime, he's been sent to the SHU for the safety of the institution...give me a break!! Thankfully, he's got an out-date, so he won't bother to appeal...it will serve no purpose. He's doing his time and I'm helping him to cope with the few years he's got left in there before he gets released.
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  #54  
Old 11-03-2006, 03:57 PM
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To me this has been very informative and I can't believe there's people who believe this inhumane way of punishment really works.
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  #55  
Old 05-05-2007, 06:36 PM
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Smile From the other side of the world

All I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you Being so far away and having such different laws and systems can make it quite difficult to try and understand what is happening without burdening the person inside with too many questions. Given that everyone on this forum has first-hand information, is so helpful for me. Although your son wrote about the SHU a few years ago, I'm sure the information gained from his insightful writing of his own experience is still more than current, so again, I can only express my graditude by saying the biggest 'thank you', cheers NB
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  #56  
Old 07-05-2007, 02:41 PM
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So sad. If there is anything I or we can do to help change anything...Please let me know.
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  #57  
Old 07-06-2007, 07:09 PM
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I have a new pal who is housed at PB in the SHU. He recently had a visit from his parents, but I'm wondering would that visit have been behind glass or do they get contact visits? Also, are they allowed to make phone calls home? He seemed really concerned about his son who didn't make it up for the visit, and I'm wondering what kind of contact they do have with their families. SMU in Arizona is considered a SHU but I know those inmates do get regular phone calls twice a week. There seem to be a few differences. Thanks for any info you have.
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  #58  
Old 07-06-2007, 08:06 PM
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Hi if he is in SHU visiting is behind glass only and no phone calls. How long will you pal be there? Barb
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Old 07-06-2007, 11:04 PM
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He says it's an indeterminate amount of time?
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Old 08-06-2007, 01:52 AM
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Thanks for giving others information on the S.H.U. it's not a pretty place from what I have heard and saw on T.V. It's just sad how men are being put there for the wrong reasons. My prayer are with you.
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  #61  
Old 08-16-2007, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joanna
Barbara this was so well written and I think Richard needs to know that we all say thank you, it really made me sad.
Because I am British and my only connection with the US is my fiancé who is, as you know in the same place as Richard I always felt it was not my place to grumble about US Justice but listening to what my fiancé and Richard say about Pelican Bay SHU it makes me so angry and of course so sad.
I’m sure Richard is like my fiancé in the fact that he never grumbles and although he knows its injustice he still gets on with it and never makes a fuss, me on the other hand wants to commit physical pain on the CO’s when I go visit.

Please please tell Richard thanks Barbara, I will ask my fiancé if he knows him:-)



Hi Joanna!
are you still around on this forum if you are i would love to hear from you, i have loved one in SHU and hadnt heard about this forum i also see you are from London in England, im from near manchester in England would love to know if you go on visits and how that goes for you?
please get back in contact when you can!
and thanks to all whom give their time to this forum! lots of good info on here!
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  #62  
Old 05-25-2008, 12:23 PM
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I was wondering if an inmate is awaiting a transfer from the PSU and had their level of med care reduced to CCCMS from EOP and was "temporarily" sent to the Ad Seg section of PBSP, is Ad Seg the same area as the SHU because my son was not sent to Ad Seg for any punitive reasons but to expedite a transfer closer to SoCal?

He goes to committee soon and will be informed of the details of a transfer closer to SoCal, but he sat in Ad Seg for well over a year prior to be transferred to PBSP awaiting what was described as a "difficult transfer" due to his EOP/SNY status.

So is Ad Seg the same as SHU even if you're just there because of change of status for medical care? Why was his property taken (TV,books, pictures, letters etc) if he's simply changing med status awaiting a transfer without any behaviorally punitive issues? I'm really a concerned considering the voilent atmosphere in the SHU and need to know if there is a distinction between AD Seg and the SHU. Please lob a father a clue if ya' can.

much peace,

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  #63  
Old 06-25-2008, 06:45 PM
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  #64  
Old 07-15-2008, 12:04 AM
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Just to let everyone know Richard did get out and he is not crazy. He is just fine and doing great. Love Barb
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  #65  
Old 07-15-2008, 12:21 AM
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That is wonderful He should join us here if he ever feels like it I bet he is a wealth of The Bay knowledge!
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  #66  
Old 07-15-2008, 09:42 AM
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Barb...Thank You for Sharing...
This kind of awesome news gives us all hope...
Also puts smiles in my Heart and on my Face!!!
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  #67  
Old 08-10-2008, 04:37 PM
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Very Depressed
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  #68  
Old 08-22-2008, 12:46 AM
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Hi, I Read Your Thread Barb, And Also Found It Intresting, My Son Was Recently Sent To Pelican Bay, And I Couldn't Understand Why???? Only Now I Know Why, Chuck May Have Returned With Steve As Well,
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Old 08-22-2008, 12:52 AM
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Hi, I Read Your Thread Barb, And Also Found It Intresting, My Son Was Recently Sent To Pelican Bay, And I Couldn't Understand Why???? Only Now I Know Why, Chuck May Have Returned With Steve As Well,
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Old 07-13-2009, 08:43 PM
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Cool Brother in the SHU since 93' a reported Member of the Commission of the AB

My brother has been in the SHU for since 1993 for allegedly being a commission member of the AB, they have yet to find him guilty of anything but hey he just may be a member, like you said he must debrief, snitch, how do you debrief or snitch when there is nothing to snitch on? I beleive any new incarrsarated inmate will at sometime affiliate with a gang simply for his protection!

My brother has been in prison since age 19' he will be 57 in Aug and the system has yet to re-hab his bad attitude (JOKE) He will likely spend the remainder of life in the SHU being an honorable gang member who will not snitch, just in case lets keep him there till his bloody rotts, Now hey that's a system we can be proud of, Big Brother Chance would love to spend a few days being your little brother again at age 54 outside the Bay...last hung out with him I was 14 - He was 17 - MC
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  #71  
Old 11-02-2009, 12:18 AM
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My man has been in and out of the SHU since 1990. That means that every time he's sent to prison it's always Pelican Bay Shu. He's there now until 3/24/2012. I hope this is his last trip. He says he's tired and i believe him. It's very restricted. Everything coming and going out including mail is read and monitored .I My man will be there until he's released in 2012 because he will never debrief (snitch). He was slammed in 1990 under that validated gangmember law that was passed. He did not have any write ups or anything but he was deemed a threat to the institution and that's what they do to you. Sometimes it's done as a punishment of some sort. Hopefully, this will be my last dealings with the SHU.

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  #72  
Old 11-20-2009, 07:26 PM
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My friend told me in his last letter that it has recently been ruled that SHU is cruel and unusual punishment. From the tone of his letter, he seemed hopeful he could possibly be moved out. I couldn't find any info online, maybe I am not searching correctly, does anyone know anymore about this please?
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  #73  
Old 11-21-2009, 12:36 PM
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My friend told me in his last letter that it has recently been ruled that SHU is cruel and unusual punishment. From the tone of his letter, he seemed hopeful he could possibly be moved out. I couldn't find any info online, maybe I am not searching correctly, does anyone know anymore about this please?

there are articles written on that very issue for years now.... dont hold your breath on this one either.


here is a search result with many articles on the issue:
http://www.fastbrowsersearch.com/results/results.aspx?q=SHU+cruel+and+unusual+punishment&s= TDBS&v=18&tid={E6FE46A2-59D8-C381-1616-9EB1F4DADEE8}

Last edited by sweetgirlb; 11-21-2009 at 12:39 PM.. Reason: add on
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  #74  
Old 11-29-2009, 09:55 PM
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I have merged the three writings on isolation into one so that they are easier to follow.
Pelican Bay S.H.U. what is it? Pelican Bay is an area outside of Crescent City in Northern California. S.H.U. means Security Housing Unit; really S.H.U. is just the modern politically correct way to say the HOLE. We’re out of our cells for ½ hour a day, we get to spend our out time in what is called “The Yard” But in reality the yard is a concrete enclosure, it measures 25 ft by 10 ft & the walls are solid concrete 30 ft high. A steel mesh screen & Plexiglas cover it. There’s absolutely nothing on the yard accept 4 gray concrete walls & a pinch of blue sky on a lucky day. So “The Yard” isn’t a yard it’s simply another stark gray cell. The truth is we’re locked in a windowless cell 24 hours a day. The state calls it a yard & lets us go to it everyday so they can claim we’re let out to “The Yard” & only kept in a cell 23 ½ hours a day. I’m sure that sounds better to the public. We’re never let out around other people it’s the HOLE just like you see on TV only cleaner & better lit.
Why are we sent here? The state claims we’re members of prison gangs.
How long are we kept here? Until we die, become a snitch or are paroled
Some might think it makes sense to isolate men with a gang type mentality, but when the policy is examined it’s clearly flawed. I only hope to point out a few really obvious flaws. First prison is full of people who’ve grown up in gangs so 90% of all the people in prison have a predisposition to a gang mentality. So no matter how many people they place in the S.H.U. today, tomorrow there will always be someone new to take their place.
The policy serves no point; all that it does is remove older, calmer & wiser men from the general population. The only result is the younger more excitable & less experienced men are left to run wild. Let me ask you this, how many of you know men who were wild as hell & unpredictable while in their 20’s & early 30’s but settled down in their 40’s and 50’s? Really that’s how most men are. I wonder what the world would be like if it were governed by aggressive 20 something males. I bet it would be a far more dangerous place! Just as you would expect the California prison system is far more violent today than when it initiated this program. If you don’t believe me just look at the numbers that the guards union just used to blackmail the lawmakers into not cutting their budget. I wonder why the prison system would initiate a program that would obviously raise the violence level, I’m sure it wouldn’t have anything to do with budget blackmail. It’ sure is odd that the guards union is the only state agency who’s budget was not cut AT ALL.

Another obvious problem is in the process thy use to identify alleged members. To be classified, as a prison gang member all that needs to happen is 3 informants tell the guards that you’re a member & that’s it off to the S.H.U. you go. That process might seem reasonable to you, but there is no time frame on these 3 informants. The information can come from any of California’s 30 prisons. How it works is anytime a name is given it goes into a huge statewide computer list, when your name comes up 3 times that’s it. That is not the bad part, these 3 informants don’t have to accuse you of conspiring with or participating in any actual gang activity and it’s NOT necessary that they’ve ever met you. So 3 informants you’ve never met or whom just don’t like you can simply say you’re a member and that’s it your off to the S.H.U. Keep in mind that these 3 pieces of information can come in over ANY number of years. The 3 pieces of information used against me came in over a 10-year span.

By now most people will be seeing a couple big flaws in this system but I’ve saved the biggest flaw for last. The only way for someone to get out of the S.H.U. is to debrief. Debrief simply means to supply the state with a list of names who the informant claims are members. Well if you’ll agree that the system is flawed then you know lots of innocent guys end up in the S.H.U. I need to point out that the policy in question is 20 years old so very few prisoners have ever even met a member. These innocent guys don’t know anything about the gangs but if they want out of isolation the “S.H.U” then they have to make up a list of names. At which time they repeat a few old prison rumors, give the names of people they don’t like, and those they think the state will believe might actually be members. Now consider the size of the California prison system there’s well over 150,00 prisoners and over 30 prisons. Now imagine how the flaws of this policy would cause a now ball effect. Well like I’ve pointed out this policy is 20 years old and now there’s hundreds of men in the S.H.U. who’s only –in prison- crime is being too honorable to participate in the debriefing program. So we sit in isolation year in and year out. Personally I’ve been sitting for 11 years but I know men who’ve been sitting for 20 years.
I will continue this synopsis on the S.H.U. with what isolation does to you.

Part 2 Isolation
This next part is hard to put into words so please bear with me, lets go back to the walk to the store. I would equate reading a new book to your main train of thought regarding what to buy at the store. What is missing is all of the background information. Historically being good at processing the background information is related to survival, hunting, protection even foraging. So it’s a strong and well-evolved sense. Processing that type of information supplies a constant source of fresh information. Even if you walk to the same sore over and over there will always be new sights, sounds and smells along with you main train of thought. The average person living the average life in the free world will be processing huge sums of information all day long, even though you don’t realize it. Now when that information is severely restricted the mind kind of goes haywire and in a way it begins to starve. To explain this I need to go off subject for a few lines. If a person goes on a diet and restricts their caloric intake the body will adjust but there will be side effects. You’ll crave food, you’ll feel weak you’ll even have some other physical problems. Your body will learn to conserve each calorie. That is why people who yo yo diet gain weight so fast. They diet and teach their body to conserve, when they eat a normal meal and their bodies goes crazy and stores it all. They gain a little weight, go on another diet, learn to conserve, then eat normally and again their bodies seizes every extra calorie. Keep in mind while on a diet the body is basically eating itself and will eat itself to death if starved for too long. Well the mind is like the body in a few ways. When you restrict the information intake you will crave information, a lot of people grow weak, the mind learns to conserve information and even eat itself. As I hope to soon show.

Here is where my lack of schooling and vocabulary really hurts my attempt at writing this. When the brain is restricted it begins to starve. It responds in many ways but the simplest for me to write about are as follows. It begins to live in the past and to exaggerate all new and even old information. The mind is eating off of old information but like the painting or the poem it can only stimulate for so long. Then the mind begins to conserve, let me give you a short example. A few days ago my neighbor got to go for a short walk outside. It was about 150 yards, when he go back he spent quite awhile talking about how beautiful the day was, how he could hear the birds, the sky was blue he could see the trees, he could smell the slight scent of earlier rain and chimney smoke. There are 10 people in my building and he told us each about it one at a time even though we could all hear him each time he told it. Clearly he was reliving it all over and over milking each drop of information from that beautiful blue sky. Non of us minded him repeating himself because we all understood what he was doing. Our minds learn to make the most out of every little detail. We begin to exaggerate each piece of information. I’ll give an example, lets say a guy gets a letter from home and it contains some little family problem. This presents him with something new to think about and to try to find a solution for. The mind really gets off on solving problems, I guess the brain uses a bunch of power figuring out problems. So our mind will keep going over this new information and exaggerate it to justify the amount of energy it spends on what is really not such a big problem. After a few days of thinking it over we will turn the small problem into a crises. I realize that some people in the free world also do that but the reason is somewhat different. They usually do it due to feeling as if they have little control over their lives. Obviously as prisoners we also have that feeling but it’s compounded by what I’ve just explained.

Brain starvation and exaggeration leads to two main side effects depression and constant stress and agitation respectively. Both eat the mind in their own way. Some men become seriously depressed and their spirit is broke. Some men exaggerate everything to the point where they stress themselves out, enough stress and most things break. I t doesn’t matter if the stress is justified or just a bunch of little thins that don’t really matter. If the brain exaggerates them then they’re real to the exaggerator. An example, have you ever been home alone late at night and heard a noise, you get all excited looking for the intruder and convince yourself that that little noise was really proof that someone is in you home. You search and find nothing, well the stress you felt is the same whether or not the intruder is real or just a neighborhood cat bumping into something on your porch. I’ve explained why the restricted brain responds as it does but another way to explain it might be to say humans crave any form of excitement so when all forms of excitement are restricted the mind begins to die causing depression or the mind begins to stress itself out as a means of creating the illusion of excitement. So why do some men deal with stimulus restriction better than others? We find a middle ground we conserve and exaggerate after all we are human. We find thins to think about that are healthy. I’ve found that creating anything new be it a drawing, poem or legal brief… all take a huge amount of brain power and create a healthy type of excitement. Come to think about it all of the healthy people I know who are living in the S.H.U. are all very creative. Personally I draw, write letters such as this and for years I’ve been trying to build a company that sells greeting cards that display the art of prisoners. I stay pretty busy and I am about as healthy as the next guy assuming he’s not too crazy

Part 3
IF the goal of the S.H.U. is to break our will and spirit I guess it’s been a successful venture for the state because over time most men break. There will always be men who will never break, men who can find that middle ground men who survive. I hope we drive the system and their mad doctors all insane.

The question that should be asked is what good has come from the use of these S.H.U.’s. Is there less violence or crimes of any kind taking place in the general population prisons? NO and in fact the prison administration has been claiming a rise in most all prison crimes, even though they’ve been using indeterminate SHU programs for over 20 years. Nothing has changed except the names and faces of those living in general population.

What happens to the people who are broke by these SHU’s? Do they get out of prison and become honest members of society? Hell no they don’t! They get out and commit the same types of crimes they always have. The only difference is now since they have already become prison snitches they find it very easy to snitch on their friends in the free world. So really all these SHU’s have done is create thousands and thousands of snitches. The only difference in prison crimes today is now you’re more likely to get snitched on. The fear of being snitched on isn’t stopping any crime at all.

So what is the point of these places? At the end of the day all that is actually happening is they are creating thousands of mentally unstable snitches. Giving men who refuse to debrief the opportunity to prove that there is still such a thing as honor among prisoners. Be we few but be we PROUD!

Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts
Thank you Barbara for making this available and thank you to the author for putting it out there. Stay proud and stay smart and know that those of us whose men are in there need to hear this over and over and from every perspective so that we can make the voting public aware of how just our justice system really is and so that we have the info to write our reps and the gov and to fight the union that keeps the public terrified in order to preserve the status quo and their overtime. You are not invisible and you are being thought of daily and fought for daily.
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Old 01-09-2010, 08:03 AM
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Wow!
My husband has not arrived at the Bay yet. We have been fighting his case since 2003 but when he is sentenced he will get a direct bus ride stright to the SHU in Pelican Bay. as we all know if your validated thats where u go. I will be looking forward to reading more from you and others. I need all the support I can get
FOREVER LOYAL!!
Ruthie Marshall
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