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The State Of California has one of the highest incarceration rates than any other state. In all prisons, Pelican Bay is considered to be California's highest maximum security penitentiary.

The prison opened in 1989 and housed the most violent criminals, usually gang members who are convicted of violent crimes. The compound is surrounded by three larges fences with the centre one electrified.

There are two main buildings in the prison. The top buildings house the prison's general population. The x-shaped building in the bottom is a super maximum security compound called The Security Housing Unit. Those who are sent there are the most violent of criminals and are watched 24/7. Those in the SHU are only given 1 hour of exercise and spend the rest of the 23 hours in their cell. The SHU is considered inhumane but human rights groups.

 
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