By William Fisher The Public Record Jan 5th, 2012
What you may not know is that the US also tops the charts in the numbers of youth offenders serving life without parole sentences in adult US prisons. The score? The world: 0; the US: 2,570.
"My brother has been in Pelican Bay SHU for the last ten years. I'm here today to be the voice, not only for him, but for all of the prisoners who are suffering in the SHU and for all of the prisons in California. There are a lot of questions that I want answered. I want to know what our elected officials are going to do to change what's being done? Why is it 30 days later and still nothing has been done when the CDC agreed to part of the prisoners' demands? I want to know why my brother is tortured on a daily basis year after year. Why is he not fed correctly and why is he so pale and skinny? Why does my mom have to cry every time she goes to see him? Seeing everybody that has come out today just lights my fire, because I know that I am not alone and I can let him know that he is not alone."
Rates of gang activity, yard violence, illegal drug sales and assaults on staff are increasing in California, while decreasing in other states. Maryland has recently closed its SHU.
The psychologically brutal and degrading conditions of long term SHU confinement encourages violence and harassment by guards and enrages inmates.
SHU inmates have no physical contact with anyone for years on end and rarely are able to talk to anyone else in the prison.
Inmates are often released directly from the SHU to the general public without skills that would help them survive. They are thus often less well equipped than nonSHU inmates to function in society. Staff working in SHU units have higher rates of drug use, family breakdown, and spouse/child abuse.