Being charged with a violent crime – especially if it is particularly heinous – can result in serving time in a maximum security prison. However, determining whether you are assigned to a high-security prison ultimately depends on the amount of prison time you were sentenced upon conviction.
In all states throughout the country, the prison system is comprised of three levels of security: minimum, medium, maximum. Minimum security prisons are reserved for non-violent offenders who do not have an extensive criminal record or those who have displayed good behavior in higher-security prisons. Medium security prisons limit the inmates’ daily movement, assign them in dormitories rather than cells, and are surrounded by a razor-wire fence. Lastly, maximum security prisons are reserved for violent offenders, prisoners who cause trouble in lower security prisons, and those who have escaped or attempted to.
In Illinois, individuals who serve a sentence of 30 years or more are assigned to maximum security prisons. Those with 30 years or less are assigned to medium security prisons and those serving 10 years or less are assigned to a minimum security facility.
The Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) is in charge of classifying each inmate to determine the amount of security necessary and assign them to their appropriate facility or institution. The Health Care Unit staff screens each inmate to obtain a medical history and address any health conditions.