the Secure Housing Unit (SHU for short), or isolation facility of a maximum security prison.

While technically, SHU can be used to describe any prison's isolation facility, it commonly refers to the unit of the Pelican Bay State Prison ("Pelican Bay"), located in Folsom, California.

The term SHU (pronounced "SHOE") alludes to the housing unit itself and/or the Draconian policies that comprise its operations program. The goal of the program is to "monitor, control and isolate" about 1,200 of the most volatile and dangerous inmates in the California prison system.

When compared to the freedoms and luxuries enjoyed by minimum to medium-security offenders (visitors, T.V. and telephone privileges, uncensored mail, etc.), or even to the generally restrictive standards of maximum security inmates housed in the general population, the SHU is considered oppressive:

All inmates are kept in solitary confinement (a.k.a. lockdown.) Housed in cells (called pods) made of solid concrete, they make communication with others virtually impossible.

Prisoners are on lockdown 22.5 hours every day, allowed out for only 90 minutes to stretch and excercise in an enclosed space. Less than 20 feet long, this "yard" provides no view, save for a patch of skylight creeping in from the exposed roof.

The austere living conditions and isolation have created an environment of continual mental distress. Many inmates report feeling pychologically broken and a greatly diminshed (if not wholly extinguished) sense of identity; not surprising when the posessions and activities commonly used to define a life (clothes, food, friends, etc.) are forbidden.

Some even struggle to maintain a basic state of sanity. Many inmates sufffer from depression and/or mental illness, and the SHU has limited access to services and treatment. All of the units reserved to meet mental health needs are full, leaving untreated inmates on a prolonged waiting list.
You think you can do this to me?! You motherfuckers will be playing basketball in Pelican Bay... ...when I get finished with you!

Shoe program, nigga! Twenty-three hour lockdown!

-Denzel Washington, as Alonzo Harris, in "Training Day"

A focal point in many films on crime/prison in California, the SHU was recently (and perhaps most famously) mentioned in the 2001 film Training Day.

Starring Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke, it portrays 'a day in the life' of a "narc": on L.A.'s mean streets, and chronicles the final 24 hours of a corrupt narcotics detective who's about to reap the full harvest of the evil sown during his career.

Both Washington and Hawke were nominated for top honors in their film categories (Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, respectively). Denzel Washington took home the 2001 Best Actor Oscar for Training Day at the 74th Annual Academy Awards. He was the second African-American actor to receive the award; the first since Sidney Poitier (Lilies of the Field, 1963).
by the pleasant companion October 04, 2006
Scoville Heat Unit: the the amount of water needed to dilute the capsaicin beyond human taste capacity in equal parts water to the weight of the mass being tested.
that hot sauce is 3,000 SHU.

it required 1,000 grams of water to dilute 1 gram of that hot sauce, thus the hot sauce is 1,000 Scoville heat units.
by quintuple May 06, 2009
the BEST last name in the world.
the Shu family
by teeheefunnay October 06, 2011
a fire breathing hipster who happens to be a cheese junkie
"I just died, just kidding I'm a shu"
by Seb0195 May 07, 2013
When you don't want to hear what a person has to say or you just don't want to hear a person speak this is what you tell them to do. Often "the fuck" is added after the word to give it a more forceful demand
"When I tell you to shus, you will shus.
by Protoman516 May 16, 2011
A synonym for the word "you". Often used to seem cooler than you really are.
"I love shu." or "Can shu pass the gravy?"
by Shuluver January 16, 2008
the coolest muthfucka around, someone who frequently changes his mind and complains a shitload, likes coors light
stop being such a shu
by ray ray February 28, 2005
its like sayin dang,it comes from the ghetto in northeastern ohio. was popular in the 80;s
dis nigga keep gettin in my way,we finna pug, shu. or im tired shu. it represents some of the deepest stupidity known to man
by ken d December 14, 2004

Free Daily Email

Type your email address below to get our free Urban Word of the Day every morning!

Emails are sent from We'll never spam you.