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  #1  
Old 12-25-2012, 07:27 PM
icantina icantina is offline
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Default What are living conditions like in the SHU

Can anyone please give me details about what exactly the SHU consists of (living condtions, what they can/cant do, etc). LO is there now, and without having any way to make contact, I'm worried sick about what he's dealing with and going through there. TIA.
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Old 12-25-2012, 07:46 PM
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The rules are somewhat different in different bop prisons. They are also often different for administrative segregation versus disciplinary segregation. He will be locked up in a 1, 2 or 3 man cell for 23 hours a day. He will be given the opportunity to be moved to an exercise cage for the other hour on the days when the staff actually allows it. Unless the showers are in the cell, he will also get 2 or 3 showers a week.

He will have no personal property, except for legal paperwork. He will receive mail, and can send mail. If he is permitted very minimum commissary shopping, he can buy stamps, envelopes, etc. If not, he can request 3 "indigent" stamps a week. He can make one 5 minute phone call each month. He might also be able to buy very limited snacks and OTC medicines from the SHU commissary list. Some of the commissary lists on the bop facility locator page for each prison do include the SHU list, some don't.

Some SHUs allow books, and might even send a book cart around to the cells. In others, you get to sleep or stare at the walls for the entire time. My family sent me books from Amazon or B&N and they were delivered as mail in the shus that didn't forbid books.
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Old 12-29-2012, 07:26 PM
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I can only speak to what I've been told (and this experience was at Butner Low), but it's basically a 5x5 concrete cell. No real heat or a/c to speak of, you get one blanket, a mattress if you're lucky, and hopefully you'll only be in there by yourself. Your meals and meds (if necessary) are delivered through a slot in the door. You're allowed one phone call a month, and a shower whenever the guards feel like letting you out to take one. (I know my LO went for 2+ weeks sometimes without one). You can write letters and receive them, get limited commissary items.
It's not an enjoyable experience by any means.
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:34 PM
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Soooo frustrated right now. Booked my trip to see my fianceé next week, we just started the marriage process and were super happy today when his unit manager put the paperwork through. Found out when I got home from work he was sent to the hole!! WTF??? They did this to us back in October as well exactly a week before I was set to visit!! Now I have to cancel my flight again, pay the travel change fee and wait until I hear from him to find out whats going on!! I swear I truly believe they are f&$@in with him because he is 23 mos away from coming home on a very very long sentence. Im so stressed worrying about him. I cant wait for us to be free from BOP!!!

Regarding the conditions in SHU, the last time he was there he said it was hard, he ate well but just being confined to a closed in space w another inmate was hard, he said some days it feels like the walls are closing in on you. I wrote to him daily during those 42 days, sent him books via amazon and he was allowed 3, 5 min calls per month or 1, 15 min call. We chose to do the 3, 5 min calls. He said my letters and pictures saved him. I already wrote 2 tonight that I will put in the mail tomorrow morning. Its tough enough for him, so I keep those letters and pics going... The SHU is cruel and inhumane punishment!

Last edited by Mnsmrs816; 01-03-2013 at 10:41 PM.. Reason: added info
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Old 01-04-2013, 03:40 PM
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This isnt my husbands first rodeo in the shu, but this has by far been the hardest. He has been down there now for 8 months. The institution keeps submitting his transfer paperwork and region keeps kicking it back. I have even reached out to one of my state senators who helped, but obviously they do not care because he is still down there. He did not recieve any disiplinary action but because of gang affiliation he is being kept down there. Anyways where do i start? They are only allowed one 15 minute phone call every 30 days, no books, 5 pics at a time, mail which sometimes can be held back for weeks, very limited commissary, no heat, 23 hour a day lockdown, a matress to write your letters on, 1 hour visits through a video camera, he complains of being hungry, lonely, isolation, he does have a radio, no t.v., no personal property, they did give him 2 blankets because its so cold, and extremely boring. Anyways I wish you and your lo well. I hope it ends for my husband soon. It has to eventually!
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Old 01-04-2013, 04:12 PM
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This is awful treatment and it breaks my heart...my babe has been in the hole for about a week now and if feels like forever, I can only imagine how it feels for him. We literally have our hands tied, I wish I could help him...So what happens to all his personal property?
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Old 01-04-2013, 05:50 PM
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The bop policy is that a CO packs all of his property, makes an inventory and safeguards it until he is released from the SHU. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work out that way, so it is not uncommon to have property disappear.
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Old 01-04-2013, 06:10 PM
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Oh great...but I'm hoping he keeps all his good stuff in his locker. Well he just called so he is out of the hole, Thank God!! and thanks for the info....
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:03 PM
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Soo happy for you both!!! Im praying mine gets out quickly!!!God bless
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:21 PM
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I was in the SHU at FPC/Florence..(Who's SHU BTW is at the SuperMax!) for over a year! The camp at Florence CO. is about the worst camp going and a LOT of guy's in the SHU from the camp have been there for YEARS. So I can tell you about the SHU...at least the one in CO.

Very small two man room with a sink, toilet, shower, one table/chair hooked to the wall, one TALL window, 2 inch's wide by 4 feet tall that looks out on the inside of the prison. There is an air vent, but it's better for chatting to the guy housed next door than for getting any fresh air. It's cold...always cold, and they keep it cold. (Guards outright told me this personally!).

You still have to "Stand For Count", and they will poke their heads in your window every hour or so when they simply come to check on you. WE only got out 4 times for exercise in the year I was locked down. Yup..that's right..FOUR times. We were also denied ANY BOOKS of ANY KIND, and they no longer allow Magazines/Newspapers IN the SHU. People keep tearing them up. If you get 30 inmates tearing up 3 or 4 Wall Street Journals into a billion tiny pieces, pushing them all under the door into the hall, and then everyone on the tier flooding their cells, it makes for a huge mess. And it's not US cleaning it up! :-)...SO...No Books, magazines. You CAN get mail..(When they bring it, and a LOT of mail to the SHU simply go's "Missing"..so be aware..if your guy say's he never got your letter..it's very likely he indeed did not. When I was released from the SHU. They gave me a huge PILE of mail they denied me while I was down. When I asked "Why?" The answer I got was "Why Does It Matter?? What Are You Going To Do?". This is pretty much the MANTRA for these guards, at least at Camp Florence, so don't expect mail in the SHU.

Phone Calls: Don't count on those either. You can request to make a call...(If you are entitled to it and have the money on your books!) But you will almost never see a phone in SHU. In the year I was there...(I spent over a YEAR in SHU during my 4 year bit due to Medical..and NO..they did not treat me BETTER in the SHU..in fact..it was WORSE!) Don't expect to make any phone calls. I was denied talking to my Lawyer, as well as ANOTHER Lawyer AND my Mother who was on her death bed. (She died later that day.) Is it LEGAL...Heck no...can they do it...ALL THE TIME! We also were not allowed pillows!!! (I fought this for a YEAR with every request/letter/demand you can send up the entire BOP Chain..still..no pillows, and NO reason why we can NOT have them.) So no pillows, also..if you can snag an extra blanket, it's worth it's weight in GOLD!

Last Note: This is an Important one folks. The Camp/ and hence "The SHU" for the camp is way WAY overcrowded. When you 1st get to Camp Florence, they will take you to the SHU to process you and dress you out. Keep in mind. If you GET to the Camp on a Friday..(Self Surdr.) then you will LIKELY be stuck in the SHU at LEAST until Monday. Waiting IN the SHU for a bed in Pop. has been known to take up to 3 Months. (When I FIRST got there, I spent 63 day's in the SHU before getting placed at the camp). So make yourself comfortable, you MIGHT be there for a while! ALSO..the SHU is Gen. a TWO MAN ROOM. For the past YEAR when I was In SHU, they were putting 4 men in one room in the SHU. (Two on Bunks, two on the floor..yes..that's correct..next to the toilet!) I had 3 Bunkies AND Myself for over a YEAR. 4 People in that small room just does not work, and fights break out ALL the time...(Daily!) so they just break 'em up, and re-match 'em up with OTHER people in other cells. They do NOT care. I personally know people that have NEVER been out out the SHU for over 9 years! There is VERY little to do. You go through all the normal stuff...you count the tiles, You make a Sun Dial Clock for your window so you know what time it is. You time the guards so you know when you can smoke, you get 3 meals a day, one change of clothes a week, You can shower in your room once a week..(They turn the water on and off, and don't expect HOT..your lucky if it's luke warm) You count the number of times the smoke detector blinks it's little light, you read your legal papers..(It's all that's allowed). And you "Fish" and trade with the others on the tier. They have ALL the control in the SHU, and they KNOW it. Since you can't complain..IE: Make a phone call, or even send a letter..who are you going to tell? I had Medical issues and they kept ME there because it was "Easy" for them. Don't expect to do much in the SHU...but I WILL tell you something that helped me. Before I went to prison, I memorized the entire Dialog from "Harry Potter" and another film. I learned every line. Many a night was spent reciting "Harry Potter" to my bunkies by memory. But THAT did help...and knowing chess and how to make a quick paper chess set was also good. (But be aware, the guards will write you a "Shot" if you get caught with ANYTHING "Modified", "Made" or "Changed" in your cell..a paper chess game counts for some stupid reason! And don't get caught with your fishing line! But in a nutshell, that's the SHU...at least in CO at the FPC/Florence
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:07 AM
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That is just so freaking sad. I know prison is a punishment but why treat people like this. This shit just pisses me off. How in the world do you call it the the SHU / HOLE but all these people sharing cells and bunks. I wish someone would go in these prisons under cover and put a stop to this shit. What kind of reform is this doing. You treat these people like shit and expect them to return to society and act like a modern citizen hell you didn't treat them like one so what do you expect. 9 years in the shu is just to much for anyone. I'm to pissed off to keep going on. Then some ask why be mean to some of the guards hell what else can they do when they are demanded to show respect but they don't receive it. The prison system need to make a lot of changes. I'm not saying they shouldn'thave to serve there time but damn treat these people like humans.
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:51 AM
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I agree my LO has been in the hole for 2 weeks and can't stand the fact of how they're treated!!! Yes humans should be treated like humans not like apes in a cage :-/ Sooooo sad! Hoping n praying he's transfered outta there soon!!
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Old 01-05-2013, 09:27 AM
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Yes, the bop treats inmates horribly, and not just in CO. We had 5 guys in a 2 man cell in Atlanta, 3 on the floor. The COs even refused to turn the lights on during the day, and kept them on all night. No books either, too expensive was the reason I was given. I replied that those donated books certainly are pricey. I finally got a Bible from the chaplain after 3 weeks though.

If it was a zoo, they would be busted for cruelty to the animals.
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Old 01-05-2013, 02:32 PM
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I am enraged at this!!! Im sitting here in tears. My Fianceé is at Butner Med II this is the second time in 4 mos he was moved to SHU, the first time for 42 days while there was an investigation, he was released, there were no charges against him. I was supposed to fly down to visit him and exactly 1 week prior he was locked up. Now again I had a flight booked to visit nxt week and again he got locked up. Do they do this shit on purpose?
All he looks forward to is speaking to me, our emails & me visiting every 2-3 mos, its been 5 mos since our last visit! I cant even imagine why he would be put in the SHU!
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:31 AM
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I recently found out that my husband has been in the hole since Wed. I didn't know the SHU was the hole, now I feel sick. I don't know how long he will be there.
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:22 AM
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I'm sorry. It will end, hopefully soon too.
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:11 PM
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Just to give another point of view J didn't/doesn't mind the SHU besides the lack of communication. He hated not calling, but he got along with his cellie and liked that he didn't have to deal with to many people. I am not saying that it is a good place to be and I hope everyone gets there communication back quickly, all I am saying is that some guys are able to cope in there and each day is still one day closer to them being home!
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