DCS terminology and prison vocabulary

You can expect to hear some words and terms in prison environment that you are unfamiliar with – these can include prison slang, terms used by correctional staff and other professionals.

A short glossary of words and terms

Prison terms

Canteen – prisoners get extra food and daily supplies - such as toiletries from the canteen
KEX – the electronic self-service kiosks that provide access to many services - including the canteen

Unlock times – periods of time when prisoners are allowed out of their cells
Lock-in – times of the day when prisoners are placed into cells and units
Lock down – an operational status when all prisoners are confined to cells and units

Prisoner – usually someone in custody at one of our prisons. This includes people on remand who have not yet been convicted by the Court. It can also refer to someone sentenced to Home Detention
Offender - usually someone who is under supervision in the community

Backdating a sentence – when time on remand is considered and deducted from the total prison sentence. This only happens at the time of sentencing.

Induction – a regime for new prisoners
Regime – Regimes provide a structure for prison life. They provide the opportunities for prisoners to fufill the requirements of their case management plans – maintain good order and security. They also provide prisoner management options that reduce the risk of harm to prisoners, staff and visitors. A regime details the routine prisoners are to follow and the privileges available.
There are various regimes at each prison

Observation cell – a cell with cameras that are used to monitor prisoner behaviour and actions

Staff titles

Correctional staff – anybody working on behalf of DCS
Unit staff – a member of staff working in a prison unit and often the first point of contact on any matter
Correctional Officer – a trained prison guard
Case Officer – available in some prisons as a contact for issues regarding a Prisoners Case Plan
Case Management Co-ordinator [CMC] – the person in charge of the ‘Prisoner Case Plan’
ALO - Aboriginal liaison officer – a specific point of contact for Aboriginal prisoners and offenders

Slang terms

Cellie – a prison cell mate

This list will be added to over time as new terms are identified.