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Is there a word or a phrase for counting the prisoners in a jail to see if anyone is missing. Is prisoner count a valid term?

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The term you are seeking is roll call, which applies to any process in which a list of names is checked against the people present.

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Headcount or head count:

  • The act of counting people in a particular group. (AHD)

Head count reveals prisoner's escape:

  • Robert John Dwight, 33, was found to be missing during a head count by prison officers at Silverwater jail about 9.00pm AEST yesterday.

(www.abc.net.au/news)

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