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
  • 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.
  • 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
CDCR’s Division of Rehabilitative Programs offers a wide range of programs for inmates. Check to see which programs are offered at this institution.

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 28th year of operation, PBSP operates with a budget in excess of $190 million.

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. The other half houses inmates in the Security Housing Unit (SHU), designed for inmates presenting serious management concerns.

In addition to General Population, B Facility operates the Restricted Custody General Population (RCGP), which is a 96-bed unit designed as a transitional program for inmates who are recently released from the SHU to GP that have custodial/security/safety concerns. 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.

Warden James Robertson

James “Jim” Robertson has been warden or acting warden at the Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) in Crescent City since December 2017.

In 1994, he began his CDCR career as a Correctional Officer at the California Correctional Institution (CCI) in Tehachapi. In 1999, he promoted to Correctional Sergeant, at CCI.

In 2001, he was promoted to a Correctional Counselor I at PBSP. He held several positions at PBSP, including Correctional Counselor II Supervisor, and Classification and Parole Representative (C&PR). In 2009, he completed a lateral transfer as the C&PR at San Quentin State Prison (SQ).

While at SQ, he served as Captain from 2011-2013 and as Associate Warden from 2013-2014. In 2014, Mr. Robertson promoted to Chief of Classification Services Unit in Sacramento.

In 2016, Mr. Robertson promoted to Chief Deputy Warden at CCI until his appointment as the acting Warden at PBSP. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Sonoma State University and is a U.S. Army veteran.

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.