Definition of up the river in US English:

up the river

phrase

North American
informal
  • To or in prison.

    • ‘You're indicted, convicted and sent up the river.’
    • ‘Isn't having a code what generally got all the film noir protagonists sent up the river?’
    • ‘They're sent up the river for ‘life,’ having all the time in the world to spend together.’
    • ‘Let me be on record as being strongly opposed to sending Limbaugh up the river, even though that is the penalty he wished to inflict on others.’
    • ‘The government wants you to know that violating its law can send you up the river.’