Pelican Bay State Prison

Nancy Mullane

This story was the first of a six-part series following Nancy Mullane in her efforts to increase media access to prisons. It first aired in October 2012. It begins seven hours north of San Francisco in Crescent City and Pelican Bay State Prison. That’s where more than 1,100 of the inmates considered the most dangerous and influential in the state are locked up in the state’s Security Housing Unit also known as the SHU.

On today's Your Call, We’ll have a conversation with investigative journalist and former hostage, Shane Bauer about California’s Pelican Bay State Special Housing Unit also known as SHU. Join us live at 10 or send an email to feedback@yourcallraido.org? What are the long-term mental health effects of near total isolation? It’s Your Call, with Holly Kernan and you.

Photo by Rina Palta

If you’re convicted of committing a felony in California, you can end up in many kinds of prisons. Steal a lot of money in a Ponzi scheme – you might end up in minimum security. Locked up, but with little supervision. Commit a violent crime, and you could be sent to a medium-security prison, like Folsom. Kill someone, and you could be headed for supermax.