Pelican Bay State Prison The Only Supermax Prison in California

A close look at Pelican Bay State Prison in California.
Pelican Bay State Prison by Jelson25 licensed under CC BY 3.0

What is a supermax prison? How is the environment there? People have more questions about supermax prisons as these are specially made for the most dangerous offenders like serial killers and human organ sellers. 

Of course, there is much to learn about a supermax prison since it’s completely different from other security-level correctional facilities.

So if you want to know everyone about a supermax prison, for example, Pelican Bay State Prison of California. So here we go. 

What is a Supermax Prison? 

Supermax prisons are a special kind of correctional facility where most violent and dangerous offenders are kept to give them intense punishment. A supermax prison is called an ‘administrative maximum (ADX)’ or ‘control unit.’ 

Some prominent features of this prison are often putting inmates in small, isolated cells, monitoring the criminals with the highest level of security, limiting inmate-to-inmate communication, and restricting access to phones or other communication facilities. 

Generally, convicts either have to take high workloads or stay up to 23 hours in an isolated, confined room. While some believe that such a harsh environment is correct for such obnoxious criminals, others think it harms their mental health. 

How are Prisoners Assigned to the Supermax Prison? 

Criminals go to a supermax prison in two ways. The first is direct, where the inmate is sent directly to a supermax facility.

Another way is indirect, where a notorious criminal is held in medium security jail for a while and is later sent to the correctional facility that has a supermax security level. 

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How are Prisoners Assigned to the Supermax Prison? Let's see.

There are some procedures to transfer an inmate to this particular prison. Only offenders with high crime rates are kept here. Such criminals can easily escape medium security and other lower security level prisons, creating great violence in society. 

Hence, a supermax prison has the tightest security system. Before transferring an inmate to a supermax facility, a review board or committee typically decides whether to send the particular criminal to a supermax prison. 

Depending on the inmate’s past crimes, his behavior in prison, and the ability to harm weaker inmates or prison staff, an inmate is sent there.

There are also cases where some criminals requested to be put in a supermax prison in order to feel safer, as most prisoners get beaten by the gang leaders and other powerful inmates in lower security level correctional facilities. 

Pelican Bay State Prison

The Pelican Bay State Prison is supermax. It’s located in Crescent City, California, in the United States. This particular prison is considered one of America’s most secure correctional facilities. The most violent criminals of California are kept here. 

The Pelican Bay State Prison runs under the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. This facility was opened in 1989. Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) is notable for its harsh conditions.

It has a unique housing option called the ‘Security Housing Unit (SHU), where inmates are solely held for an extended period.

It has four units where the cells have no windows. There is only one spacious place in SHU units: the exercise yard. Inmates of SHU are allowed to exercise daily but only for an hour.

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Once, it was one of the most overpopulated prisons in America, but recently, the correctional facility reduced the number of inmates. 

While it can keep 2,380 inmates, the Pelican Bay State Prison currently has 1,654 offenders. It was also criticized for once having a brutal environment where the guards and other staff tortured inmates. However, these deadly conditions are no longer seen there. 

What is the Meaning of Supermax Prison in California? 

In California, the meaning of a supermax prison is a “control unit” or a prison unit that has the most secure custody level. In such prisons, California’s most violent and dangerous inmates are kept under the strictest security measures. 

Let's know What is the Meaning of Supermax Prison in California?

It’s all called “administrative Maximum (ADX) facilities. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation runs the supermax prison called Pelican Bay State Prison in California. This correctional facility keeps the inmates under extreme isolation. 

Some features of the supermax prison in California are limited communication, single-person housing, and restricted access to the outside world. Both the prisoners and the staff members are safe inside this prison as its security level is the tightest. 

Although the dangerous criminals of California’s supermax prison cannot make contact outside, they get all the medical and basic facilities like studying for the future and getting medical treatments. 

Final Words

California has only one supermax prison. It’s the famous Pelican Bay State Prison. It offers the Inmates a supermax level of security since the criminals housed here are the most harmful ones. 

Pelican Bay State Prison had more prisoners than it could hold in the past, but now the number of offenders has lessened. Currently, it’s holding only 1,654 prisoners while being able to keep 2,380 inmates. 

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