These terms are relevant to Illinois. Other states and the federal system may use the following terms in other ways. These explanations are not exhaustive.

Administrative Detention (AD): This is a tool administrators use to separate an inmate from the general population for a variety of reasons (e.g. safety of self and others). According to Illinois’ administrative code, an inmate is entitled to most of the privileges he/she enjoyed when he/she entered AD (e.g. electronics, commissary). It is not disciplinary segregation. Communication with other inmates and people on the outside of prison may be restricted.

Calculation Sheet: Provided to every inmate when he/she arrives at a facility. It will list the length of the sentence the individual is to serve, how much county time is being deducted from the sentence, and how the sentence will be calculated. A new form will be provided to the inmate if his/her sentence is modified as a result of good conduct credits being applied to his/her sentence or if he/she loses good time for violating major rules. This is the form IDOC uses to calculate an inmate’s release date and discharge date.

Committing County: The county where the court is that sentenced the inmate.

Concurrent Sentences: Two or more sentences served at the same time.

Consecutive Sentences: Two or more sentences to be served one after the other.

Controlling Case: When a person is serving concurrent sentences, this is the case that represents the longest sentence.

County Time: Refers to the time an individual was in the custody of a Sheriff in a county jail. This may be pretrial detention and/or time sentenced in the county jail.

Discharge Date: The day an individual completes his/her sentence (the date that the Mandatory Supervised Release term is terminated). After a person is discharged, they are no longer supervised by IDOC.

Disciplinary Segregation (seg): This is where an inmate is located while he/she is isolated from general population for breaking a rule. An inmate may be placed in seg while administrators are conducting an investigation as to whether or not a rule was violated. An inmate should receive written notification of why he/she is in segregation in the form of a ticket. The inmate should also receive written notification as to whether or not he/she was found guilty of the offense and what the punishment will be.

Door Violator: An inmate who technically violated Mandatory Sentenced Release (MSR) without physically leaving an IDOC facility. This usually results from the agency not being able to place an inmate at a home site. Or, the agency was unwilling or unable to approve a home site the inmate submitted for consideration. A door violator will remain incarcerated until the MSR term expires (maxed out) or if a home site is approved (only if the Prison Review Board indicated this on the Parole Violation Report).

Electronic Detention (ED) and Electronic Monitoring (EM): In both cases, an individual in the custody of IDOC or under the supervision of a county sheriff is fitted with a semi-permanent ankle bracelet. This bracelet is a sensor that is monitored by a device placed within the home site (commonly referred to as ‘the box’). It will notify the law enforcement entity that is supervising the individual if and when the person being monitored exits the home site.

  • ED: Applies to a situation when an individual is serving the custodial part of a sentence, but at a home site rather than prison or jail (this is rare).

  • EM: Applies to when a person is serving the Mandatory Sentenced Release (MSR) part of a prison sentence, waiting for trial, or is on probation. Movement is being restricted and monitored.

Good Time: This term can mean several things. Good time is used to describe the method IDOC uses to calculate sentences. It is also used to define a reduction in one’s sentence earned by good conduct. For more information, see the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Grievance: IDOC’s grievance process is a procedure that allows inmates to address problems within IDOC. An inmate initiates the grievance process when they submit a grievance form. More information regarding this subject is available in Frequently Asked Questions.

Ground Proximity Device (GPS): This device is usually a semi-permanent ankle bracelet. GPS will allow the law enforcement entity in charge of supervising an individual to track where he/she is at all times.

Home Site: Where an individual will reside while under the supervision of IDOC during the term of Mandatory Supervised Release.

IDOC: Illinois Department of Corrections

IDJJ: Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice

Inmate Locator: The IDOC website presents a tab marked ‘Offender Search.’ Selecting this option will allow any individual to use the IDOC Inmate Locator. This lists information relevant to an individual inmate (e.g. date of release, offense, location). An inmate’s last name, birthdate, or IDOC inmate ID number is needed to use this function.

Legal Mail: Mail to a licensed attorney.

Maxed Out: An individual in the custody of IDOC has been held in the physical custody of the agency until the end of his/her Mandatory Sentenced Release (MSR) term. This person will not be supervised by IDOC in any way whatsoever after being maxed out. If the individual was maxed out as a door violator due to being a sex offender, this person must comply with sex offender registry laws.

Mittimus (also called Sentencing Order): Document provided by the sentencing court that lists information relevant to an individual’s sentence (offense, length of sentence, and credit for time served). Every person who is sentenced to IDOC should receive a copy of this form.

Mandatory Supervised Release (MSR): Period of time an individual will be supervised by IDOC after they are released from a facility. MSR and parole are the same thing. For more information about MSR, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Movement: Term used to describe when an inmate is allowed to leave his/her cell or homesite.

Parole Violation Report: If an inmate is detained by law enforcement as an MSR/parole violator, he/she will receive this document. It will state what rule(s) a parolee is alleged to have violated and relevant facts. When the individual is presented this form, he/she will be required to sign it and indicate if he/she wishes to have a ‘preliminary hearing’ (in this case the preliminary hearing will be to determine if the individual will be held in custody until the PRB is able to have a full hearing on whether or not parole should be revoked and/or reinstated).

Privileged Mail: Mail directed to JHA that goes through a facility’s mailroom without being opened. IDOC allows JHA to send and receive privileged mail to inmates if he/she notes “privileged mail” on the envelope.

Prison: A state prison that houses inmates sentenced to a term greater than one year. Jails are temporary holding facilities that detain people while his/her case is pending (who cannot post bond) and people who are sentenced to a term of less than one year.

Prisoner Review Board (PRB): The PRB is a quasi-judicial body of individuals appointed by the governor. The PRB is responsible for a wide range of duties. The board approves/modifies MSR terms, reviews applications for Executive Clemency, conducts MSR violation hearings, and more. For additional information about the PRB, visit the following link:

Prisoner Review Board Order: Document that indicates the results of the Prisoner Review Board’s (PRB) finding regarding whether or not Mandatory Sentenced Release / Parole was violated. It will list the reason for the board’s decision. It will also list conditions for re-release (if applicable). It may indicate that statutory good time will be revoked from the original sentence if the PRB decided that the circumstances warranted such a sanction.

Outdate: The day the inmate is to be released from a prison. He or she will still be in the custody of IDOC while they serve their Mandatory Sentenced Release (MSR) term (unless they are being released after serving their MSR term in custody).

Sentencing Order (also called a Mittimus): Document provided by the sentencing court that lists information relevant to an individual’s sentence (offense, length of sentence, and credit for time served). Every person who is sentenced to IDOC should receive a copy of this form.

State Pay: Nominal stipend (payment) provided to inmates each month by IDOC. How much an inmate receives is determined by several factors (e.g. job assignment, facility).