Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP)

Main Phone: (707) 465-1000

Physical Address: 5905 Lake Earl Drive, Crescent City, CA 95531 (Directions)

  • Institution: P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City, CA 95532
  • Staff: P.O. Box 7000, Crescent City, CA 95531-7000

Visiting Inmates: learn how to visit inmates in-person or by video at our institutions.

Other Resources: explore family & friends resources, including how to contact or send packages to inmates in our institutions.

  • California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA): CALPIA operates one Industry at PBSP, Laundry. This industry employs approximately 18 inmates. The Laundry has contracts with Pelican Bay State Prison and Del Norte School District.
  • Career Technical Education (CTE) formerly Vocational Education Program: PBSP offers Career Technical Education Computer Literacy program and Tsunami Adult School. Additionally, inmates have work assignments throughout the institution on various work crews which include yard crews, kitchen workers, porters, clerks, grounds keeping, maintenance, and other duties which assist in the daily operation of the prison.
  • Academic: PBSP offers a Literacy Program, Adult Basic Education, General Education Diploma (GED) and High School Diploma, as well as College Courses, which are available through distance learning. There are 2 academic delivery models: Alternative Education and a Voluntary education program. Both offer literacy, adult basic education, HSD and GED. The voluntary program allow participants to be involved in college and correspondence courses. PBSP also offers an AA program through College of the Redwoods, bridging the gap to higher learning opportunities, upon release.
  • Inmate Support Groups at PBSP include: Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotic Anonymous, Choices for Common Ground, Prisoners Embracing Anti-hostility Cultural Evolution (PEACE), Reaching Out Convicts to Kids (ROCK), Victim Offender Education Group (VOEG), New Beginnings, Jesuit Restorative Justice Program, AI-ANON, Getting Out by Going In (GOGI), Veterans Group, and Breaking Barriers.

DRP Programs
Integrated Substance Use Disorder Treatment (ISUDT)–Overview
On January 21, 2020, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and California Correctional Health Care Services (CCHCS) implemented ISUDT.  ISUDT is a comprehensive and evidence-based cross-divisional program with pathways to treatment through DRP Cognitive Behavioral Interventions (CBI) programs referred to as:

CBI-Intensive Outpatient (Medical Classification T1, SOMS assignment code ISI) 2-hours/day, 5-days/week, 52-weeks completion

CBI-Outpatient  (Medical Classification T2, SOMS assignment code ISO) 2-hours/day, 3-days/week, 14-weeks completion

CBI-Life Skills (Medical Classification T3, SOMS assignment code CB2) 2-hours/day, 3-days/week, 29-weeks completion

All participants will be assessed by medical and referred to one of the CBI classes.

Family Liaison Service Specialist
CDCR provides through a contract with a community-based organization an on-site Case Manager as a family reunification liaison for inmates and family members, to assist with an inmates pre-release preparation; and conduct Parenting and Creative Conflict Resolution classes for inmates. Please call the Institution to contact the Family Reunification Liaison.

Pelican Bay State Prison is located in Crescent City. Situated in the northwest corner of California along the Pacific coast, this thriving community is famous for some of the world’s most beautiful coastline. Cool ocean mists nurture the giant Redwoods in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. The crystal clear Smith River is one of California’s largest wild river systems. The majestic Redwood forests, local beaches, river rafting, miles of hiking and wonderful places to fish are all easily accessible. Youth engagement is encouraged through events and organizations such as the county fair and 4-H. Del Norte County is uncrowded and unspoiled.

Crescent City coast with small island
Jedediah Smith Redwoods with trail


PBSP is located on 275 acres on the North Coast of California, 13 miles from the Oregon/California Border.  The institution opened in 1989 to accommodate a need for a growing population of maximum security inmates.   Currently in its 32nd year of operation.

Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) is designed to house California’s most serious criminal offenders in a secure, safe, and disciplined institutional setting. Half of the prison houses maximum security inmates in a general population (GP) setting. A quarter of the Institution houses inmates in the Security Housing Unit (SHU), designed for inmates presenting serious management concerns. PBSP also houses Level II inmates in a 500-bed, open cell, dorm like environment. PBSP, Level II, Delta Facility features an expansive state of the art exercise yard, the facility also features murals, music bands, college education, a Prison Paws Program and many other rehabilitative opportunities and programs.

In addition to General Population, B Facility operates the Restrictive Custody General Population (RCGP), which is a 96-bed unit commensurate with similarly designed high security general population facilities intended to provide inmates with increased opportunities for positive social interaction with other inmates and staff. PBSP also operates a 400-bed, Level I Minimum Support Facility, which houses non-violent offenders outside of the secure perimeter of the main institution, and a Firehouse with eight full time inmate firefighters.

Acting Warden Stephen Smith

Stephen Smith has been acting Warden at Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) in Crescent City, CA since December 2022. 

In 1997, he began his CDCR career as a Correctional Officer at Pelican Bay State Prison. Soon after, he transferred to California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison at Corcoran(SATF).  

From 1997 to 2021 while at SATF, he held multiple positions including Sergeant, Lieutenant, Correctional Counselor-II Specialist, Captain, and Correctional Administrator.  

Mr. Smith was acting Chief Deputy Warden at Kern Valley State Prison in 2021. He was appointed Chief Deputy Warden at SATF in September 2021 where he served until his assignment as the acting Warden at PBSP.

Mr. Smith served in the United States Army from 1992-1996. 

Bill Woods has been the Chief Nurse Executive at Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) for seven years.  In the eighteen years at PBSP , he has served in numerous supervisory and leadership positions.  Mr. Woods brings a strong understanding of the Departments mission coupled with a dedication to foster positive team dynamics while demonstrating the leadership to promote high quality Health Care.

Local Inmate Family Councils (IFC’s) are a gathering of family and friends of the incarcerated who meet regularly with Wardens to support visiting since keeping strong family connections with loved ones is a powerful rehabilitative tool. These IFC’s promote visiting by clarifying rules and regulations as well as discussing health, education, vocational training, packages, books, and related issues. For more information on connecting with a local IFC, please visit the Statewide IFC website.