Pelican Bay

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Lawyers have an ethics code. Journalists have an ethics code. Architects do, too.

According to Ethical Standard 1.4 of the American Institute of Architects (AIA):  "Members should uphold human rights in all their professional endeavors." 

advencap / Creative Commons


Sitawa Natambu Jamaa has been incarcerated for 33 years at the Pelican Bay State Prison in Crescent City; 23 of them in the Security Housing Unit, also known as the SHU. He spends most of his time—up to 22 hours a day—in a small, windowless cell. His charge is murder, though his sister Marie Levin says he did not commit the crime.

In California, there are hundreds if not thousands of people practicing criminal law, though they’ve never passed a bar exam. They don’t wear suits. They don’t have secretaries. And they can’t bill for their time. They’re called Jailhouse Lawyers. They’re inmates who pursue the equivalent of a lawyer’s education and who work as lawyers from within prison walls.