Top definition
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
Get the merch
Get the SHU neck gaiter and mug.
Aug 11 Word of the Day
You can tell by the way she walks, she got that WAP.

You can look at her face and tell she ain't got that WAP.
by Black Don August 06, 2020
Get the mug
Get a WAP mug for your brother-in-law Manley.
An arabic word that means What? Used in an informal way to friends or acquaintances.What
Shu? I did not hear what you said.
by Zeina May 18, 2005
Get the merch
Get the shu neck gaiter and mug.
Secure Housing Unit - a prison term for a lockdown high security housing unit. Pelican Bay in Northern California has a notorious SHU.
After shanking his cellie, Mike spent five years in the SHU.
by mijito64 June 10, 2005
Get the mug
Get a shu mug for your bunkmate Vivek.
Special Housing Unit
It is the prison within a prison.
See also lockup or lockdown and PC--protective custody.
Five-O found drugs up his ass, now his ass is in SHU.
by Tizzat January 28, 2004
Get the mug
Get a S.H.U. mug for your cousin Yasemin.
Shu (Su) was the god of dry air, wind and the atmosphere. He was also related to the sun, possibly as an aspect of sunlight. He was the son of the creator god, father of the twin sky and the earth deities and the one who held the sky off of the earth. He was one of the gods who protected Ra on his journey through the underworld, using magic spells to ward off Ra's enemy, the snake-demon Apep. As with other protector gods, he had a darker side - he was also a god of punishment in the land of the dead, leading executioners and torturers to kill off the corrupt souls. His name might be derived from the word for dryness - shu, the root of words such as 'dry', 'parched', 'withered', 'sunlight' and 'empty'. His name could also mean 'He who Rises Up'.
Shu was generally depicted as a man wearing an ostrich feather headdress, holding a sceptre and the ankh sign of life. Sometimes he is shown wearing the sun disk on his head, linking him to the sun. Occasionally, when shown with his sister-wife Tefnut, he is shown in lion form and the two were known as the "twin lion gods". At other times, he was shown with the hind part of a lion as his headdress, linking him to his leonine form. Mostly, he was shown with his arms raised, holding up the goddess Nut as the sky, standing on the body of Geb.
Get the mug
Get a Shu mug for your Uncle Vivek.
A minuscule bird located in the southern hills of Pakistan. Despite it's small nature, it's penis is the ninth largest in terms of body to penis ratio.
Person A. "My God, if only my penis were sizably proportionate to that of a miniscule Pakistani mountain bird.

Person B. lolshu?
by Shuluver January 16, 2008
Get the mug
Get a shu mug for your daughter-in-law Julia.