By Lt. John Silveira, AA/PIO
Pelican Bay State Prison
Thanks to the artistic talents of offenders at Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP), the D-Yard Security Housing Unit (SHU) short corridor has had a makeover to help reflect its new mission.
“Arts in Corrections provide inmates an opportunity to do their time with creativity,” said life-term inmate James Cross. “In March, inmates housed at PBSP Level II began the first session of the Prison Art Program (PAP). Inmates from different ethnicities, ages and term commitments ranging from life without parole to going home in days (were) working on artistic skills thanks to funds provided through the Arts in Corrections program.”
According to Cross, the area of the prison that once housed “the worst of the worst, … has a new face.”
“The cell doors are open from 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. seven days a week,” he said. “Staff coordinated PAP where inmates who have earned Level II security classification are (now) housed here.”
The inmate artists had a chance to show off their creativity as well as their ability to get along.
“This program is rewarding not only for inmates but staff alike,” Cross said. “These men exhibiting interpersonal relationship skills and human connection paint together while staff observe harmony among a diverse group of prisoners. Clearly detailing through their actions that rehabilitation is achievable puts a new face on the old SHU.”