Common Prison Terms by Correctional Officers
Listed here are prison terms that may come up when visiting or talking to your loved one.
General population- these are the inmates who are allowed to have phone calls, visits, access to the yard, dayroom privileges, and packages. Basically, these inmates have access to other inmates, unless they choose not to by requesting protective custody.
PC or Protective Custody– there are certain inmates who may choose to be separated from the general population for personal reasons. Inmates who are incarcerated for crimes against women or children may be in fear of their lives; therefore they may opt to be separated from the general population and request protective custody. Likely, they would be housed in Administrative Segregation for their own protection. They would have to request protective custody by going to the correctional officer and ask for it. An inmate may also request protective custody from another inmate. Unfortunately, there is more violence that goes on between inmates that share cells than staff can keep up with. If an inmate shares or tells about a crime that has taken place or may take place in the future with staff he could be labeled a “snitch” and his life could be in danger. More than likely, he would be placed in protective custody. Inmates have been known to lose their lives for snitching on another inmate. There is a code that goes on within the institution with staff and inmates that you should not snitch on each other.
Administrative Segregation or Adseg- this is a prison within the prison that houses inmates who commit rule violations, assault staff, or other inmates. They are held in these areas pending classification to decide what their punishment will be. They will be reclassified and possibly moved to another institution. They may also stay there and serve their time for their crime in Adseg and be moved to another yard.
Contact Visits– the visitor and the inmate share the same space in a room, but their physical contact is limited. They can give each other a brief kiss when they greet each other and when they say goodbye. During a visit, they are allowed to hold hands. These visits are for levels 1, 2, and 3 inmates. At any time, there are no more than 5 visitors allowed to visit an inmate. If the visiting room is overcrowded some visitors may be asked to leave to accommodate other visitors.
Non-contact visits- these visits take place behind a glass partition. Since the inmate is escorted to this area in cuffs, it is advisable no to have the minor present at this time. The inmate is only allowed three (3) visitors and the time is usually limited to one (1) to two (2) hours. There may be several reasons why an inmate is on non-contact status such as: violent crimes or sex crimes within the institution or before he came to the institution. Any inmate that is on Death Row will not be allowed to have contact visits.
Condemned Grade A inmates- can receive contact visits unless they have committed a violation and had their privileges revoked or for security reasons.
Condemned Grade B inmates- can only receive noncontact visits and will be restricted to one (1) to two (2) hours. They will be escorted to the visit in handcuffs so if you have minor children that will be visiting wait until the inmate has been escorted to the visiting area.
There are two prisons for the state of California that house condemned inmates or lifers. One of them is San Quentin located in the San Francisco area for men, which also has a level 2 on the grounds. The other prison is a Women’s Facility in Chowchilla located in Central California.
Reception inmates- these are inmates who are still in R&R (receiving and releasing) because they have either transferred in from another institution, transferring out to another institution, on their way to court, on their way to a hospital, or being released from the prison to go home.
R&R- this area is considered the heart of the institution because, as mentioned above, there is a lot of activity that takes place in this area. Also, this is an area of the institution where packages come through and have to be checked by officers before it can be released to inmates. This is also part of the prison where inmates send personal belongings home that may not be allowed at that institution to their families and/or friends.
Family Visiting-Family visiting is not for inmates on Death Row, life sentences, inmates who have been convicted of sex offenses, or inmates who are under disciplinary actions. You have to be an approved visitor and an immediate family member. Children, siblings, legal spouses, or registered domestic partners are allowed to go on a family visit with an inmate. If an inmate has been convicted of a crime with a minor, they may be restricted from visiting with their own children on a family visit. It is best to check with the family visiting officer before you bring any children on a family visit.