Abstract

This paper embodies how Restrictive Housing Units (RHU) in the correctional system
contributes to the security and smooth overall operation for any institution at the local, state and
federal. This paper examines the Federal Bureau of Prisons Segregation Units that have come
under scrutiny by the General Accounting Office (GAO) report, American Civil Liberties Union
(ACLU) and other advocate groups. This paper provides three Scenarios, all of which have
occurred in local, state, and federal prison systems. The violent and unmanageable inmates in the
scenarios provide evidence as to why segregation units are important and why such major
controls are implemented by policy. Even with stringent policies in place, and the tightest
controls in these units, still, violent staff assaults and loss of life occurs at the hands of dangerous
individuals. Case scenario documentation supports just why certain inmates should never be
placed in the general population to guarantee the security of the institution and to assure the safety of
staff and inmates alike. Lastly, correctional, criminology professionals and advocacy groups
have lodged concerns about inmates who spend a lengthy sentence in Special Housing Units
(SHU’s) and then are released back to society from a very violent environment such as Pelican
Bay State Prison’s Security Housing Unit (SHU). Pilot programs have been recently initiated at
the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and the California Department of Corrections and
Rehabilitation (CDCR) in similar step-down programs used as a reentry back into general
population, and ultimately, back into society after the inmate(s) have been released from
incarceration.