Please download this  PDF Flyer to help you guide you through the Correctional system.

Common FAQs to Help You Navigate the System

What should you do if your loved one has been arrested?
How do I start the bail process?
What happens in court?
Can I do anything to help the court process?
If your loved one is convicted and sentenced, what next?
Once they are transferred to a facility, what contact can you have with your loved one?
How do you set up visits?
What is the attire for visits?
What can you bring inside?


Q. What should you do if your loved one has been arrested?

You are not alone! There is help for you! First and foremost, you need to get a lawyer. The lawyer will appear before the judge with the client. The charges will be read and the judge will set bail.


Q. How do I start the bail process?

If you have enough cash you can start the process of release immediately. If not, it will be at least 6 to 8 hours for them to move the paperwork through the system in order for you to pay.

Once bail is paid and the client is released, he/she must comply with conditions of pre-trial release. The court will set the conditions of release. For example: house arrest possibly with electronic monitoring. The judge might impose a curfew. There will likely be a stipulation that he/she cannot use a computer or a smart phone. There will be a specification that there can be no contact with the victim.


Q. What happens in court?

1) There will be many court dates ahead called status dates. Status dates are set for both sides to review, share and evaluate the evidence.

2) Release conditions may be modified at during status dates. For example: your attorney can petition for a cell phone for safety if necessary. The client may request permission to work. The judge will consider any reasonable request.

Once all evidence is shared your attorney will advise on the best course of action.


Q. Can I do anything to help the court process?

There are many things you can do for yourself, your family and the client. Mitigation, mitigation, and mitigation. It is key to show the courts that rehabilitation is a priority. Examples of mitigation: if it is a child or sex-related offense, one may have to quit one's job if it involves working with children. They could get counseling. They could go to SA 12 step meetings.

Family members can go to S-Anon and or S-ATeen and now SOS.

For drug offenses one can seek treatment and counseling.

Connections with family and the community are very important.


Q. If your loved one is convicted and sentenced, what next?

There are things you should know about prison in Illinois.

All prisoners go to Stateville correctional institution for processing. They might be held at 26th and Cal for several days. There is no contact with family during this processing time. They will get a complete physical. The state will attempt to locate the “best fit” facility considering the charges and any special circumstances.

Once they are at Stateville, there are things you can do:

  • You can send books and magazines. Be sure to write their name and number inside the book.

  • Register with IDOC so that you are notified when they move.

  • Put money on a commissary account ($20) using GTL.

  • Write letters.

  • After the arrest and processing, your family has 48 hours to come and pick up the clothes and shoes, otherwise they will donate them to charity.


Q. Once they are transferred to a facility, what contact can you have with your loved one?

Once they are transferred, you can:

  • Call the facility to be sure that you can visit. Only immediate family can visit before he/she makes their official visitor list.

  • Set up a phone account with Securus. (1-800-844-6591)

  • Set up a new account with GTL for commissary at their facility.


Q. How do you set up visits?

Except for the first visit, the offender must make a list of potential visitors. If your name is not on the list, you cannot visit. First time, paperwork is available online however, it is much easier and faster to fill it out and bring it with you. You will need 2 forms of ID for the first visit. Only one thereafter.

Click here: For visitation rules & information, and scheduling


Q. What is the attire for visits?

No jewelry, no watches, no leggings, no shoulders exposed. Women must wear a bra (not a bra top).


Q. What can you bring inside?

During the visit, you can purchase a vending machine card. You must have $5 bill to purchase the card. Thereafter, you can add any amount to the card.

Only bring money to put on the card. No extra cash is allowed in the institution. Nothing but the card and your IDs are allowed in your pockets for the visit.




This FAQ page was created to offer guidance and should not be construed as legal advice. We cannot cover the specifics of any individual's situation sufficiently to know what the most prudent course of action is.

Hinda Institute advises all participants to consult with an attorney for legal advice.