Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952514 | Print ISBN: 9780761927310 | Online ISBN: 9781412952514| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Special Housing Units
Special housing units (SHU) are parts of prisons where inmates can be held in solitary confinement away from the general population. Prisoners are placed in SHU for many reasons. They may be moved into SHU as a punishment or as a means to safeguard those who are a danger to themselves or to others. They may also be placed there if they are too vulnerable to remain in the general prison population. SHU is sometimes referred to as “solitary confinement,” “administrative segregation,” “isolation,” or “the hole.” Most inmates in SHU have extremely limited contact with other human beings, and many can expect to serve their entire sentences away from the general population. SHU can be used to curtail privileges, preserve order and control, safeguard inmates, modify insubordinate behaviors, and hinder escapes. Inmates housed in SHU are confined 23 hours out of the day in a small, dark cell that is ...