Supermax prisons are penitentiaries that hold the most notorious killers. Hence, people can’t help but have the curiosity to know about them.
However, there is much more to learn about supermax prisons, like which offenders are kept there and its general environment.
Today we will enlighten you about what a supermax prison is and share information about California’s only supermax detention center, “Pelican Bay State.” So let’s jump right onto the details.
What is a Supermax Prison?
A supermax prison, commonly referred to as a “control unit” or “administrative maximum” (ADX) prison, is a kind of detention center created to imprison the most violent and dangerous offenders.
These correctional facilities are distinguished by their high level of security, extreme inmate isolation, frequent use of single-person cells, censored communication, and restricted access to the outside world.
In supermax prisons, convicts may spend up to 23 hours daily in their cells and have little interaction with employees or other inmates.
Supermax prisons aim to secure the safety of prisoners and staff members by reducing violence and preventing escape.
Critics claim that difficult circumstances and extended solitary confinement can result in mental health issues and human rights abuses.
How are Prisoners Assigned to the Supermax Prison?
Depending on the jurisdiction and the individual circumstances of the prisoner, several procedures are followed for transferring inmates to supermax facilities.
In general, supermax facilities are only considered for placing inmates who pose a great danger of violence, escape, or disruption among the regular prison population.
People with a history of frequent disciplinary issues, gang members, or those convicted of violent or major crimes may fall under this category.
A committee or review board normally decides whether to send an individual to a supermax prison after considering several issues, including the inmate’s criminal past, prison conduct, and potential harm to staff and other prisoners.
In some circumstances, inmates may also want to be housed in a supermax prison for their safety, such as when they fear being attacked by other offenders.
Once kept in a supermax prison, convicts are typically subject to an exhaustive list of rules and regulations, including restricted access to rehabilitation activities and limited communication with the outside world.
Pelican Bay State Prison in California
A supermax prison called Pelican Bay State Prison is situated in Crescent City, California, in the United States. It was built to accommodate the most violent and dangerous criminals in California and is one of America’s most secure and repressive prisons.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation runs the Pelican Bay State Prison, which opened its doors in 1989.
The facility is renowned for its extremely secure housing options, notably the infamous Security Housing Unit (SHU), intended to keep offenders in long-term isolation.
The SHU is organized into four housing units, each with a small, windowless cell and a separate exercise yard.
Only one hour of exercise is normally permitted for SHU prisoners daily, and they have little interaction with staff and other convicts.
Long-term isolation and other severe circumstances in the SHU at Pelican Bay State Prison have drawn criticism and legal challenges throughout the years.
The correctional facility has made efforts recently to lessen isolation and provide options for rehabilitation and reintegration.
These efforts include the development of alternate living units and programs that aid offenders in returning to the general prison population.
What is the Meaning of Supermax Prison in California?
A supermax prison in California is intended to house the state’s most violent and dangerous inmates under the strictest security measures.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation runs these prisons, which are also referred to as “security housing units” (SHUs) or “administrative maximum” (ADX) facilities.
Extreme inmate isolation and a high level of security are features of the supermax Pelican Bay State Prison in California.
Single-person housing, limited communication, and restricted access to the outside world are frequent features. In supermax prisons, convicts may spend up to 23 hours each day in their cells and have little interaction with personnel or other inmates.
Based on their criminal past, prison behavior, and possible harm to staff and other prisoners, criminals in California may be sent to a supermax prison.
A supermax prison may be an option for inmates who have committed violent or significant crimes, belong to gangs, or have a history of disciplinary issues.
But in California and other states, long-term isolation and other serious conditions in supermax prisons have been the focus of debate and legal challenges.
Pelican Bay State Prison is the only prison in California with a supermax security level. It’s because of the serious offenders that are housed there.
It’s no longer an overpopulated prison, out of 2,380; it’s currently keeping 1,654 inmates (only 69% of its holding capacity).