At California’s maximum-security Pelican Bay State Prison is, gangs still run thriving criminal enterprises out on the streets – from within the fortress, reports CBS’ “60 Minutes.” “Thhese are the most creative, the most ingenious men, deeply committed to achieving their criminal goals,” says Lt. Steve Perez, who led the way to SHU, the security-housing unit, a special prison within the prison. Inmates are locked in cells 22-and-a-half hours a day, but they talk through drains and by sending written messages via “fishing lines.”
With inmates who have nothing to lose, the authorities are left with nothing but frustration. Inmates have the legal right to mail letters, in which they use codes that have been so hard to decipher, they have been sent to FBI cryptologists in Washington, D.C. With nothing but time alone in his cell, one inmate spent years learning an ancient Norse language that hasn't been used since 600 A.D. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is considering a plan to scatter the gang leaders throughout the federal prison system. If he rejects that idea, they will remain at Pelican Bay, serving out their life sentences.