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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 186832 Find in a Library
Title: Inside the SHU
Journal: Let's Talk  Volume:25  Issue:3  Dated:2000  Pages:2-5
Author(s): Graham Chartier
Date Published: 2000
Page Count: 4
Type: Program/Project Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: This article describes the characteristics and operations of Canada's Special Handling Unit (SHU), which is the only unit of its kind operated for the small percentage of inmates deemed to be so dangerous that they require the SHU's special handling procedures and the constant vigilance of its staff.
Abstract: Since 1997, the SHU has operated within the Regional Reception Centre for the Quebec Region of the Correctional Service of Canada. Almost all of the SHU's inmates arrive from other maximum security institutions located across the country. The inmates transferred to the SHU have each jeopardized the safety of staff and other inmates in other institutions, such that they need special handling. In the SHU, inmates moving from one area of the facility to another are handcuffed and escorted by two or three correctional officers. All visits, all programs, and all interviews by staff are conducted through a clear plexiglas barrier. The SHU has five cell blocks; each has a small, triangular exercise yard. These cell blocks fan out around a central control post equipped with tinted windows. Inside the control post correctional officers monitor all inmate activity and control all cell doors and the barriers that mark each range. SHU inmates have no direct contact with anyone except other inmates unless they are handcuffed and accompanied by correctional officers. In addition to the exercise yards, there are four common rooms and a gymnasium where inmates are allowed to mingle. Inmates are not handcuffed to go to the common rooms, which they can access without coming into direct contact with staff. Security cameras and watchful correctional officers on a catwalk overhead and in the central control post monitor the activities and actions of the inmates on the floor. Although the daily operation of the SHU is the warden's responsibility, the authority to transfer inmates in and out of the SHU is delegated to a National Review Committee composed of the heads of Canada's maximum security institutions and other correctional officials.
Main Term(s): Corrections policies
Index Term(s): Foreign correctional facilities; Inmate staff relations; Maximum security; Prison conditions; Prison management; Prison special units; Violent inmates
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