Go inside Pelican Bay State Prison in Northern California, one of the most violent and volatile penitentiaries in the nation. See surveillance footage from one of the worst prison riots in U.S. history.
Pelican Bay State Prison - Mission Statement Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) is designed to house California’s most serious criminal offenders in a secure, safe, and disciplined institutional setting. One half of the prison houses maximum security inmates in a general population setting. The other half houses inmates in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) designed for inmates presenting serious management concerns. The SHU is a modern design for inmates who are difficult management cases, prison gang members, and violent maximum security inmates.
In Addition, PBSP operates two unique programs: The Psychiatric Services Unit (PSU) which is a 127 bed unit designed and staffed to treat mentally disordered offenders who are serving SHU terms. PBSP also operates a 400 bed, Level I Minimum Support Facility which houses non-violent offenders outside of the secure perimeter of the main institution, and a Fire House with 8 full time inmate fire fighters.
Institution Details PBSP is located on 275 acres on the North Coast of California, 13 miles from the Oregon/California Border. The institution opened in 1989 to accommodate a need for a growing population of maximum security inmates. Currently in its 22nd year of operation, PBSP operates with a budget in excess of $180 million.
Inmate Programs California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA): CALPIA operates one Industry at PBSP, Laundry. This industry employs approximately 18 inmates. The Laundry has contracts with Pelican Bay State Prison and Del Norte School District.
Vocational Programs: PBSP offers Vocational Auto Body through Tsunami Adult School.
Additionally, inmates have work assignments throughout the institution on various work crews which include yard crews, kitchen workers, porters, clerks, grounds keeping, maintenance, and other duties which assist in the daily operation of the prison.
Academic: PBSP offers a Literacy Program, Adult Basic Education, General Education Diploma (GED), as well as College Courses, which are available through distance learning.
Inmate Support Groups: PBSP offers inmates access to Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Choices for Common Ground, Incarcerated Veterans, and Reaching Out Convicts to Kids which is known as the “ROCK” Program.
Visiting Hours and Directions Saturdays, Sundays, and Designated Holidays* from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
* New Year's Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas
NOTE: These holidays are visiting days, regardless of the day of the week
For information relative to PBSP visiting, or to make an appointment to visit an inmate in the SHU, contact our Institutional Visiting Staff at (707) 465-1000 Extension 5425.
A CDCR funded Visitor Center is at the institution operated by a community-based organization under contract to CDCR. The Visitor Center provides visiting assistance to family members and friends including a sheltered place to wait before and after visits, transportation to and from local transit terminals, childcare, clothing appropriate for visits on loan, and information about local resources, visiting rules and regulations.
From the South:
PBSP is located 370 miles north west of Sacramento, and 370 miles north of San Francisco
Take Hwy 101 to Crescent City, CA Continue north to Kings Valley Road; turn left Proceed west to Lake Earl Drive; turn left Follow Lake Earl Drive approximately 1 mile to the gate of Pelican Bay From the North:
PBSP is located 13 miles south of the California/Oregon boarder
Take Hwy 101 south to Crescent City, CA Take Kings Valley Road; turn left Follow Lake Earl Drive approximately 1 mile to the gate of Pelican Bay