General US Prison slang
4 piece A full set of restraints (cuffs, leg irons, waist, and security cover). (Iowa)
7-up: A correctional officer is approaching. Perhaps derived from the word "6-up" which was originally used to refer to officers coming at 6:00 a.m. to move homeless people from park benches.
10-10 Furlough: Death by un-natural causes, as in "He wronged too many, and got his 10-10 furlough last night"
12:01: Used when a prisoner is discharged. "I got a 12:01 tonight." (LA)
12/12: To serve the entire sentence without parole. The end of a penal term.
13 1/2: The sum total of 12 jurors, one judge, and one half-chance, often featured in tattoos
5-0: Correctional officer. (FL / NC).
114: CDC form documenting reasons for placing a prisoner in administrative segregation.
115: A rules violation report (CDC Form 115) can lead to disciplinary action. It may be classified as either "administrative" or "serious."
128: CDC informational chrono, as in Form 128-G.
187: Marked for death, as in Cal. Penal Code section 187 (murder).
459: Burglary or intrusive behavior, from Cal. Penal Code section 459. As in " Don't 459 my convo."
580: Caution that the authorities are approaching. Normally hand signed, to alert others of potential problems. (TX)
602: The prisoner grievance or administrative appeal process (CDC Form 602). This process provides three formal levels of review, beginning institutional levels and progressing to the Director's review in Sacramento. Although the appeals process provides a means to express complaints, there are many problems with the system and appeals are frequently "lost" at the informal levels of review.
6-5: Correctional officer. Used as a warning when an officer is approaching.
5150: A person needing mental health treatment, based upon the California Welfare and Institutions Code section for civil commitment.. Other states will use different numbers, such as "730" in New York.
911: Warning that a correctional officer is coming.
A - C
AB: Aryan Brotherhood, a white prison gang. This abbreviation can also refer to the California Department of Corrections' administrative bulletins.
AC: Aryan Circle, a white prison gang found in some states. This designation is not seen in California. More commonly in California, this designation would refer to the "Adjustment Center."
Ace: a puff of a cigarette, as in "Bust me down with an ace" (NY)
Ace Boon Coon: Best friend
Ace-Duce: Best friend.
Adjustment Center: The A.C., a segregated control unit. The name was developed during the prisons adopted language reflecting treatment of prisoners. In theory, the unit was to provide an intensive program. In practice, such units remained (and remain) "the hole." A landmark case challenging conditions in San Quentin's Adjustment Center was filed in 1973 and continues to be enforced as a permanent injunction. Toussaint v. McCarthy
Ad Seg: Administrative Segregation. Placement in a controlled unit for the safety and security of the institution -- including allegations of gang affiliation, investigation of a disciplinary offense, or repeated misconduct. May be referred to as "A-Seg" in the federal system.
Aggie: A long handled hoe. (In Texas, field force work squads are referred to as Hoe squads, usually by their squad number such as 1-hoe,2-hoe.)
Aguas: Spanish word used to warn other prisoners thant an officer is making the rounds. Used as a warning in Spanish colonial times and usedd in Mexico as a warning tgo be careful. When water was thrown in the street after being used for cleaning, the person would cry to warn pedestrians.
Ain't Right: A situation, person, or object of dubious correctnessas in "Somethin' ain't right with that Cat-J."
Alphabet: A sentence so long that it cannot be characterized by numbers. (VA)>
All Day: A life sentence, as in "He's doin' all day . . ."
All Day and a Night: Life without parole. (MI)
*** Betting: Gambling without any funds or means of paying back one's loses.
*** Out: A prisoner who has does not have anything coming or who has disprespected officers to the point where they do not give him anything.
Attitude:The display of annoyance, hostility, contempt, courage, or an unbroken spirit toward others.
Attitude Adjustment: The need for drugs. Also, a physical act by officers, including use by electric shock (taser, stun gun).
ATW Stands for " all the way " . When a prisoner is finished with his sentence in Maryland the officer that comes to get him to take him to be released will announce for him to "pack it up , ATW." (MD)
AW: Associate Warden. In some western prisons, this may refer to the Aryan Warrior gang.
B & B: Bag and Baggage - to leave prison or jail.
Baby: A weak prisoner used for sex, a "punk." (FL)
Badge: A correctional officer.
Bale: Loose-leafed tobacco purchased at a canteen.
Bam-Bam: The mental health ward or a prisoner who is a mental health patient.(MI)
Banger: A knife. Also called a burner or a shank.
Bar: To fear a certain area or restrict one from an area, such as a cell. As in "You are barred from this side of the yard."
Bastille by the Bay: San Quentin, a term coined by San Francisco columnist Herb Caen. Also, the title of a column in the now-defunct San Quentin News
Beast: Sex offender (England), also called a "nonce."
Bean Chute: Slot through which food trays are inserted. Also, slot through which ad seg prisoners are cuffed prior to leaving cell. (TX)
Beat Your Feet: Order by an officer for a prisoner to move out of an area. (TX)
Beef: A disciplinary charge, as to "catch a beef."
Be Farts and Cell Partners: Beans and franks. (archiac)
BGF: The Black Guerrilla Family, an African-American prison gang that originted as a revolutionary organization influenced by George Jackson.
Bid: Prison term. Also called "bit."
Big House: Prison.
Big Jab: Lethal injection. Also, "stainless steel ride," "doctorate in applied chemestry," or the "needle."
Big *****: Convicted under the habitual criminal act which carries a mandatory life sentence. See also "Little *****." (TX)
Billies: White men.
Bing: Segregation unit. (NY)
Bippy: A small paper cone of cleaning powder used for scrubbing cells. (TX)
Bird: Someone who is a fool or idiot. Also, a prisoner sings like a bird (rat). One who escapes from prison. Young offenders. (Ontario, Can.)
Birds on the Line: Warning that someone is listening to a conversation.
***** Up: To cry or give in. (NY)
Blade: A prisonmade weapon, a shank. To "blade up" is to cut someone up.
Blanket party: Throwing a blanket over a despised prisoner, so he or she can't identify an attacker.
Blickey: AIDS, as in "He or she has the blickey."
Blickum: Generic term used as a substitute for other words. As in "He got a 72 hour blickum,: substuting for lockdown. "Jont" may be used in a similar way.
Blind: Area where correctional officers cannot see, as in "Let's go to the blind."
Bling Bling: Officers are coming.
Bit: Prison sentence. (IL)
***** Up: Chicken out or be a coward. (FL)
Blazed: To be under the influence, high, or stoned. (Ind.)
Blood In, Blood Out: To enter a prison gang by committing a stabbling, to leave by being the victim of a stabbing.
Blow Up the Spot: To let out a secret. To point out when another prisoner is doing something against the rules. To make a scene. (NY)
Blue Belly: Correctional Officer (Maine)
Blues: Prison clothes.
Boarder: A prisoner. (archiac)
Boat: To transfer out of a prison, as in "on a boat."
Bo-Bos State issued tennis shoes. Shoes that may be bought through a prison commissary (FL).
Bolillos: Whites, perhaps from a term for a large loaf of white bread. (Sp., TX)
Bomb: Paper rolled tightly together that is lit and used to heat items.
Bonaroo: One's best clothes. "I've got my bonaroos all ready for my next visit."
Bone: (2) Cigarette. (NY) (2) The dominant partner in a relationship between prisoners.
Bone Crusher: A particularly large prison weapon (shank).
Boneyard: Family (conjugal) visiting area.
Boof: Contraband concealed in the rectum. Also, "boofed." (NY)
Books: Trust fund account, "on the books." All money received by a prisoner is placed into a trust account and may be withdrawn for canteen purchases, special orders, postage, and other expenses.
Boot Camp: Military style programs used by many states for some first time offenders.
Booty Check: Rectal search.
Border Brothers: Mexican nationals.
Boss: An officer -- some say in it is "sorry son of a *****" spelled backwards.
Bounce: Move along, get lost. (Iowa)
Bow: Life sentence. (GA)
Bowling Alley Units that have a long and wide cement walkway. Prisoners walk along the yellow lines on the side of the walkway, while officers and staff walk on the inside. (TX)
Box: (1) A carton of cigarettes. (2) Segregation or SHU, as in "I don't want to do any box time." (NY) (3) A quarterly package containing personal items sent from the outside.
BP: Federal grievance forms. Different numerical designations identify the level of the grievance.
Brass: High ranking administration.
Brew: Homemade alcohol; "pruno."
Brick: A carton of cigarettes
Bricks: The outside, on the outside, as in "on the bricks."
Broadway: The first floor of some tiers. A wide area where prisoners come and go -- and occasionally may be housed if the prison is particularly crowded.
Buck: Homemade alcohol (Florida).
Buck Horn: Hand rolled cigarette.
Buck Master: One who makes homemade alcohol. See "pruno."
Buck Rodgers Time: A parole date so far into the next century, the prisoners cannot imagine release.
Bug: A crazy person.
Buggin' Out: Going ballastic, losing one's mind, going totally crazy. (SC)
Bug Nasties: The sack lunch given prisoners. (AZ)
Bull Dagging: Homosexual activities between women; taking a homosexual partner. Also, "Bull Dagger," a macho-acting lesbian. See "Dagging."(TX)
Bull Dog: A prisoner who uses fear and intimidation to get something from a weaker person.
Bullet: One year prison sentence..such as "They gave me a bullet."
Bum Beef: To falsely accuse a prisoner of doing some thing. (OR)
Bum Rap: A bad charge.
Bumpin Ya Gums: Talking Excessively.
Bump It On Down: An Order to get moving. (TX)
Bunkie: The person with whom a prisoner shares a double bunk bed.
Burn: (1) Tobacco (England). (2) To write up a disciplinary report. (archaic)
Burn rubber: Exclamation meaning "Get lost," "Leave me alone!"
Burnt Up: To get into trouble or to receive a disciplinary report.
Bush Pass: An escape or walk-away. (TN)
Bus Therapy: The practice of transferring prisoners from one institution to another, to keep them from away from their property, visits, and other contacts. Particularly used in the federal system. Also known as "diesel therapy," "grey goose therapy," or "round robin."
Buster: (1) Disrepect referring to the fact that someone "busted" or swore to a statement upon something of value in the prison culture and was found to have lied. (2) A term for "Northern Mexicans" used by "Southern Mexicans"
Butched In: Having to perform oral sex for favors
C-file: The central file. The critical information maintained on each prisoner.
Cadillac: (1) Coffee with cream & sugar, smooth, rich and creamy. (2) A fish line. (3) A cushion job or enjoyable work on the inside. (4) The best. (5) On officer's term for a vacant cell.
Cap pealed: Someone's head, as in "I'm gonna peal his cap"
Calaboose: Prison or jail (archaic).
Call: Time for specified events -- e.g., mail call or sick call. May be known in some jurisdictions as a call out.
Camp: CDC minimum security facilities for firefighting and conservation work.
Canton: One's cell (SP TX).
Cappin': Talking about one's family, relatives, or girlfriend in a disrespectful way.
Carnal: Homeboy. Street Language. (Sp.)
Case Disciplinary violation, as in "to catch a case." (TX) See also "Beef."
Cap: The amount of marijuana that fits into a chapstick cap.
Catch a Square: To get ready to fight, as "You'd better catch a square, punk." Derives from the corners in a boxing ring.
Catch out: To request protective custody. Move around, leave an area rapidly (TX).
Catcher: Sexually passive or submissive, often victimized
Cat-J: A prisoner who needs mental health treatment. Sometimes referred to as a "J-Cat."
Cat Nap: Relatively short sentence.
Cat Walk: Walkway above yard or tier where officers patrol. Officers in the area, as in "cat walk front to back."
C.C. Consecutive sentences.
Cell Confinement: Disciplinary detention, confining prison to cell for 24 hour increments. (Iowa)
Cell Gangster: One who talks tough locked in his cell. Then says nothing when out of cell (NY). Also known as a "cell warrior" or "cell soldier." (AK)
Chain: Used when a prisoner is transferred to another unit or arrives and departs on the bus. "He left out on the chain yesterday."
Chainin": Used when a prisoner is transferblack to another unit or arrives and departs on the bus. "He went chainin this mornin."
Chalk or Raisin Jack: Home made alcohol, or pruno. (TX)
Chalking: To run interference with officers while another prisoner is breaking a rule.
Chapete: A Southern Mexican word used to disrespect Northern California gang members. (SP)
Chasing the Dragon: Looking for heroin on the yard. Also called, "chasing the horse."
Check In: To be placed into protective custody.
Check Out: To leave protective custody.
Checking: A fight. When it happens in the fields, it is generally sanctioned by officers. When it happens in the building, it is generally testing to see whether someone new is going to ride or to be a punk. See Hoe Check. (TX)
Checkin' It: Putting on one's best clothes for a visit with a prisoner. (NY) Check Off: Someone who asks for protective custody due to debts, or because he is scared.
Cheese Eater: An informer.
Chester: Child molester.
Chin Check: To hit someone in the jaw to see if he will stand up for himself.
Chiva: Heroin (spanish). Also: scam, gow, stuff, hop.
Choney: A chocolate or candy bar. (BC, Can.)
Chuck: A white prisoner or officer. (MI)
Cho-Cho: An ice cream bar bought in the canteen (TX).
Cho Mo: Child Molester. (MT)
Chrono: Informational notes by prison officials documenting classification decisions, minor disciplinary offenses, medical orders, and just about everything else that might be recorded on a prisoner. (CA) Also called "C-note" (UT).
Circuit: Transfers to discourage contact with others. "Diesel Therapy."
Clavo: A stash or collection. "He has a huge clavo of jelly-beans."
Clica: Spanish for gang, also "ganga." Related verb: cliquear, meaning to **** up or ride with a gang. (Sp., TX.)
Click: A group of prisoners who use their combined strength, a clique. When two or more prisoners attack one prisoner. "Those prisoners clicked on me." (TX)
Click up: To join a gang.
Clicks: Minutes on the telephone. (NY)
Clipper Pass: A special shaving pass that allows prisoners with medical conditions to shave only once a week or to wear short beards. (TX)
Coffee and a Day: Out in just over a day.
C.O.: Correctional Officer.
Commandos: Prisoners who go to another prisoners bunk or cell, after lights out, for sexual reasons. (FL)
Commissary: Money for buying stamps, toiletries, cigarettes, and other items. The place to buy it. Also called "canteen."
Convict: A prisoner with traditional values. One who has pride and respect, who maintains integrity, who is not an informant, whose word is good. A convict is different from an inmate.
Convict Boss: A prisoner given authority in a prison system. Also, an officer who conducts his business and does not hassle or instigate trouble. (TX)
Code 21: Masturbation (TX, from the TDC offense code).
Cop Out: (1) Form that a prisoner must fill out requesting action. (FED) (2) To inform on someone. (3) To place one's self into protective custody.
Copping Deuces: (1)) To contradict one's self, (2) To change one's mind, to the sore displeasure of another.
Corner:"A corner is defined by who a man hangs out with. That's his corner. Lot's of times, even a loner is hooked to a certain corner, so within that you've got `strong corners,' `weak corners,' etc. Once you know all the corners, where they are, and what their guidelines are, then you get an easy feel for the pulse of a prison." -- Dannie Martin, Committing Journalism.
Cross Bar Hilton: Prison (archaic).
Count: The institutional count, repeated at different times in the day. Everything stops while prison staff make sure no one is missing. May be referred to as the "count time." In the federal system, an unscheduled count may be referred to as "census count."
Court: Disciplinary hearing. (Ohio)
Cowboy: New officer. Spelled backwards, its "yobwoc:" young, obnoxious, bastard we often con." (FL)
Crate: Carton of cigarettes.
Crib: Home on the street. (PA)
Crime of Passion: prisoner serving time on a sex time.
Crimey: Best friend or co=defendant.
Cut: Area around a prisoner's bunk, considered to be his territory/area. (GA)
Cut That Knot: Beat up on a prisoner. (TX)
Cutting Up: Suicide.
D-report: Disciplinary report. (WY)
D-Seg: Disciplinary Segregation. (FED)
Daddy: A dominant prisoner who protects or uses a weaker homosexual partner. A homosexual.
Dagging: Trading out for sodomy. (TX)
Date: The release date. Often used with lifers to refer to a date set by the Board of Prison Terms,
Dead: (1) No, as in "That's dead." (2) Deprive of something. "That officer deaded my rec." (NY)
Dead mouth: Told by an officer to be remain silent until told otherwise instructed. (IN).
Debrief: Prisoners who wish to establish that they are no longer associated with a prison gang must provide information regarding gang activities and pass a polygraph examination. The prisoner must give names and identify criminal activity. This is the only means available to a prisoner to establish that they have left a prison gang and should be released from segregation. Having become an informant, the prisoner must rely on the Department of Corrections to protect them. It is an extremely dangerous pact. Prisoners who are wrongfully identified as gang associates may have nothing to offer in the debriefing process.
In Texas, this process may be known as "Attachment B," referring to the forms filled out by a prisoner delcaring that he has left a gang and to request safekeeping.
Deck: Pack of cigarettes. See also "square." (TX)
Deuce: A two-year sentence.
Deuce Less: The difference between federal time and local time. (Canada)
Deuces: A squad of correctional officers , usally called in to control a riot. "The C.O.'s just dialed the dueces."
Diddler: Child molester. (CT)
Dig this out: "Check this out."
Digger: The segregation unit. (Scotland).
Diaper sniper: Child molester.
Diesel Therapy: Constant transfers to keep a prisoner from associating with others or to discourage particular activity.
Dime: Ten, as in ten years (dime sentence), ten dollars, ten pounds of weights.
Ding Ding Something that is dead or no-more, "That thing is ding-ding, shorty." (MD)
Ding Wing: Where mentally ill prisoners are housed. A mentally ill prisoner may be called a "ding."
Dip the Spot: Leave the area.
Dipping in the Kool Aid: Trying to enter a conversation when a person has no business doing it.
Director's Rules: The regulations of the California Department of Corrections, found in title 15 of the California Code of Regulations.
Dirt Nap: To die.
Discharge: Release from prison.
Dog: (1) Homeboy or friend. (2) A prisoner who gives someone up to the authorities. (Australia).
Dog Food: Heroin.
Dog House: Lock up.
Dogs: Shoes. Fee. To beat someone up, as in to "walk the dogs on someone."
Don: Dominant prisoner in a cell.
Donkey Dick: Sliced cold cuts.
Doo Rag: An archaic term for cloth worn on the head of a prisoner. See "Wave Cap." (MI>
Doowop: To go through the food line twice. (GA)
Dope Fiend Move: A sleazy maneuver.
Double Cell: Housing two prisoners in a cell designed for one.
Down: Locked up, as in "This your first time down?"
Down Bad: To accuse wrongly, as "You got me down bad." (LA)
Down Letter: A letter from the parole board notifying a prisoner that more time must be served.
Dragon's Tongue: Slice corned beef, boiled to an unexcelled toughness.
Drama: To cause a disturbance, as "There's gong to be a little drama." (NY)
Draw: Canteen order.
Dressed Out: To be assaulted with urine,feces,or any liquid mixture by a prisoner. See also "gassing."
Drive: To pick on someone to the point of getting angry. "We drove him about that all night." (LA)
Dry Cell: To put a prisoner on dry watch, without water, when he is suspected of packing contraband (Maine)
Drop a Dime: To inform on someone. "He dropped on dime on his bunkie"
Drug Charge: Child molestation; "He's in on a drug charge, he drug them out of the sandbox. (Iowa)
Drive Up: New officer or prisoner. Can be used as in "just drove up." (TX)
Dry Rat: Prisoner who snitches in front of another person (Maine)
Dry Snitch: (1) prisoners crowding around a fight that draw the officers' attention. (FL) (2) a prisoner who talks about something important to another prisoner in front of an officer.
Dubbed: Locked. As in "he dubbed the door on his cell." (Scotland)
Ducat: Prison passes for movement in the institution. Assignments for jobs, cell changes, sick-call, and other prison programs. Trust fund withdrawals for canteen draws.
Ducat to Chapel: To set a man up for a murder (from a Folsom hit).
Duck: An officer whoe reveals information to the prisoners about other officers.
Duff Out: To beat someone up.
Duffy: State issue, flake tobacco once supplied to California prisoners under the brand name "Bonanza." Coined after former San Quentin warden Clinton Duffy. (archaic)
Due Process: In prison, very little process is due. Under federal constitutional standards, the prison may not even be required to follow its own rules.
Dump Truck: A lawyer who makes an easy deal at the expense of the client
Ear Hustling: Listening to conversations going on over the tier (eavesdropping).
Eight Ball: (1) A prison click. (2) An eight-year term.
Elbow (L-Bow): Life sentence.
Elevator Ride Given a beating in an elevator. (NY)
EME: The Mexican Mafia, a Southern Hispanic prison gang, based on the spanish pronunciation of the letter "m."
E.P.R.D.: Earliest Possible Release Date. A prisoner's release date, assuming that he or she earns credits and stays out of trouble. Computing this date can be difficult since it is based on a complex formula. The prison's computation can be reviewed through the Legal Status Summary Sheet.
Escape Dust: Fog.
Ese: Slang for "guy" or "homie." (TX)
Eyeball: To give a long dispariging look at an officer.
Family Style: Performing sodomy in the "missionary" position,
Featherwood: A peckerwood's woman.
Felon Fodder: Human beings subjected to incarceration.
Fence Parole: Escape.
Figa" Shank. (Sp./MA)
Fifi: An artificial vagina used for masturbation.
Fire on the Line: Officer on the tier or in the area. Also, "Fire on the Walk" (MT) or "Fire in the Hole."
Fish: A new prisoner.
Fish Row: Cells where new prisoners are placed. (MT)
Firma: When someone or someone is "down" or "hard." (Sp.)
Fish Line: A line used to pull items from one cell to another. A "fishing pole" refers to an item used to facilitate this line, such as a rolled up newspaper.
Fishing Kit: A small packet of toiletries, such as deodorant, toothpaste, soap, and a toothbrush that are issued to new prisoners in the LA County jail.
Fit: Short for "outfit"--- a home-made contrivance for injecting drugs intravenously
Five-O: An officer. (MI)
Fix: To be given a favor or served with more food than other prisoners. As in, "Fix me up."
Flat Time: To serve one's time without parole.
Flat Wig: To slam, or put to the floor with force. Or, "Flat Weed."(TX)
Flavors: Brand name cigarettes or cigarettes received from outside the canteen.
Flick Up: Take a photo.
Flip Flop: To alternate in performing acts of anal sodomy with a partner, indicating weakness on the part of the dominant prisoner.
Flip the Pad: Turn over one's mattress on assigned days.
Flipping the Script: A person (usually an officer) that acts one way one day and another the next. (KY)
Floor Wet: Call to warn others that officers are coming.
Flop: The time a parole board gives (after denying parole) before a prisoner will be eligible for another parole hearing. As in, "The parole board gave a 10 year flop." (KY)
Fluff: Feminine lesbian.
Food Strike: A group of prisoners that refuse to go to the dining hall to take food, or go there and refuse to eat anything. Unlike a Hunger Strike, prisoners still eat food that was bought or made by them in the units.
Fogline: When the fog is too thick for staff to keep a close watch, fogline will be called and prisoners will be restricted to their cells or unit.
Foo-foo: Deodorant and after-shave, as in "foo-foo'ed back."
Fop Fops: To fight with fists.
Ford: "Found On Run Dead." This started because of a particularly bad doctor named Ford. It grew to mean any generally antagonistic or unhelpful doctor. (TX)
Four Minute Job: Shower.
Front: To act differently when people are in the area. (TX)
Free Pass: Let off by prison staff without making a further report.
Free World: The outside. Also mass made cigarettes - as opposed to hand-rolled.
Fudge Packer: Homosexual. (FL)
Gaffle: To handcuff a prisoner.
Gagged: (1) To be shortchanged. (2) To be shown someone's penis. (FL)
Galboy: A person who plays a female role in a homosexual relationship. (old term taken from 1930s Alabama. Aee the Scottsboro Boy Haywood Patterson.
Gang Jacket: Validated as being a gang member.
Gangster: HIV. "Be careful around him. He got that gangster." See also "Monster."
Gashley: A woman.
Gas House: Public toliet in the cell block
Gassing: Throwing a liquid substance on an officer from a cell. Also called "dashing."
Gas Up: Used by correctional officers to tell a prisoner to get moving. Can also be used as a threat to place a prisoner in lock-up if he or she does not comply, as in "I'll gas you up." (NJ)
Gat: Shank. A prison made knife. (IL)
Gate1) Cell door. (PA) (2) Release, as in "30 days to the gate."
Gate Money: The small amount of money given a prisoner upon release.
Gate Time: When the doors to the cell are opened sothat one can get in or out.
Gated Out: To be released from prison.
Gazer: Correctional officer who watches prisoners take a shower.
General Population: The mainline. Prisoners who can mix with other prisoners. Sometimes simply refered to as the "pop."
Get Hit: To receive a longer sentence from the parole board.
Getting Rec: Going to the recreational yard or harming someone for no reason
Getting Buzzed: Tattooed.
G.I.: Gang investigator. (TX)
GI Approved: Identified as being in a gang, or that a particular event is gang-sanctified. (TX)
Gigger Out: Warning that there is a guard coming.
Give A Shot: A disciplinary report or write-up.
Gladiator Fight: Fighting set up for the benefit of others. A gladiator school may refer to a facility that engages in this practice.
GNC List: Got Nothing Coming. Prisoners who have been identified by officers as having nothing coming to them.
Going to the BOSS: The act of being searched by staff using the BOSS chair to perform a body cavity search (NY). Good Lookin' Out: Thanks a lot.
Good Time: Credits earned toward one's sentence. In California, good time (one day for two served) credits are awarded for prisoners in certain situations, such as those who are willing to work but unassigned.
Goof: An insult. A fighting word. A complete idiot who has no pull in the prison. A child molester.(Ontario)
Goon Squad: The security squad that handles special assignments, a task force of officers.
G.P.: General population.
Grapes: Gossip. As in "Give me the grapes on her."
Green: (1) Money or Marijuana as in "I'm getting some green." (2) An inexperienced or young prisoner. A new officer. In some states, any rank below lieutenant will wear a green shirt, and the word may be used to refer to these officers. (3) Prison clothing (NY), referring to the color of the clothing issued by the state.
Green Light: To be a target for death.
Greened Down: To wear the green correctional officer's uniform. (NY)
Greasy: Doing someone wrong, as in "You did me greasy." (VA)
Grey Bar Hotel: Prison.
Grunts: Commissary food items. (IN)
Gump: Homosexual. (VA)
Gun: Razor, shank, or other weapon. (NY)
Gunned Down: To have urine, fesces, or other fluids thrown, see also "gassed."
Gunner: A prisoner who masturbates while looking at a female correctional officer. Gunning (verb), or "gunned down." Also referred to as a "sniper" or "gunslinger."
Gunsel: From the corrupted "gunslinger," a new prisoner who talks tough. (Fed., archaic)
Hack: A correctional officer.
Handle Up (On) Your Business: Fight. (TX)
Hardrock: Hard, tough prisoners. (archaic)
Hard Time: Serving a sentence the difficult way.
Hawged: To have everything taken away. As in, "He hawged you for all your money." (TX)
Hawk: (1) prisoner who watches or stands guard to notify another prisoner when staff is approaching. (NC) (2) A prison weapon, also "shank." (IN)
Head Running: Talking.
Heat: Close surveillance.
Heat Wave: A prisoner who is under constant suspicion and brings that attention to those around him.
Heart: Strong, honorable convictions. "The dude had a lotta heart."
Heart Check: Assigning a prison gang member a hazardous "mission" (such as a murder) to see if he's still down with the gang.
Hemmed Up: To get intro trouble or receive a disciplinary report.
Herb: A weak prisoner.
High Class: Hepatitis C . As in "She's high class!"
High Power: High security unit (L.A.. County Jail). Hit: murder or stabbing.
Hit It: Masturbation or anal sex. (MI)
Hit the Bricks: To be released to the streets. (MI)
Hit a Lick: (1) Come into a good sum of money. (2) To masturbate.
Hit in the Neck Lost, hopeless, having no chance. From the almost always fatal target of a prison knife attack to the neck. Short version: "You're hit". (MI)
Hoe Check: Group beating given to a prisoner to see if he will stand up for himself. Also known as "Check" or "Checking". (TX)
Hog: (1) A prisoner who is willing to fight, who will not back down. (2) To manipulate another person (boss or prisoner). For example: a new officers may be told by veteran officers to go to a pod and call out your fence cutters for work. "There are some that really do this...get it, a fence cutter." (TX)
Hoof: Hiding contraband in the rectum. As in, "He hoofed it."
Hole: Solitary confinement, segregation, disciplinary detention cells.
Homeboy: Another prisoner from one's hometown or neighborhood. Seth Morgan's book by the same title remains one of the classic pieces of writing about prisoners and prison culture. Homie.
Homes1) General greeting or expression used between various prisoners. (2) One's cell. Prisoners returning to the cell may be "going home."
Hooped: Hiding contraband in one's rectum. "He hooped a few pounds of heroin."
Hootch: Homemade (or cellmade) alcohol
Hook Down: A warning that the officer is coming
Hoop: To bring in contraband anally.
Hook-up: (1) An officer has lied or made up a story to get a prisoner in trouble or sent to the hole. (2) A concoction of items bought from the commissary, such as tuna, dried soup, pepper, crackers, etc. (Ohio). (3) To obtain someone's address and phone number.
Hoosegaw: Prison of jail (archaic)
Hot Meds: Controlled medications, including psychotropic medication or anti-depressants.
Hot Rail: When a group of prisoners stah a uard around one particular prisoner and his/her significant other on visiting time so the couple can have sexual relations.
Hot Water: Warning that officer is coming.
House Tossing: An officer who has taken a prisoner's belongings and tossed them to the floor, perhaps stepping on them.
Hung Up: A prisoner who tries to kill himself by hanging in his cell.
Hyna: Girlfriend. (Sp.)
ICC: Institutional Classification Committee; Interstate Corrections Compact.
Illing: To act up or to go crazy.
Ink Slinger: A prisoner who draws tattoos (slinging ink) (AZ)
In My Mouth: Some one is listening in on the conversation. As in "man that hack is all in my mouth."
Inmate: Just another prisoner. It may be a derogatory term to refer to a prisoner who does not have the values of a convict. A new prisoner who does not know the code of the prison system.
Inmate Fund: An account where all the prisoners "official" money is stored and ussed to by commisary items. The Inmate Welfare Fund (IWF) is the trust account that is to be used for the benefit of all prisoners (such as renting movies, bying new recreational equipment), and is generally funded through surcharges applied to various purchases and activities.
Inside: Behind the walls.
In The Car: To be in a tight circle of friends, "You're right with me, or, whatever I got, you got." Prisoners who lift weights together.
In the Hat: Targeted for death.
In the old days when convicts wanted to kill someone, usually a stool pigeon, they would make five or six pieces of paper. Only one paper would have his name on it and each convict would draw a piece of paper from a hat or cap. If he got the paper with the name on it,he had to kill the victim. The mystery of it was that no one but the one who drew it knew who got the job. Dannie Martin, In the Hat.
"It ain't no thing": "I''ll take care of it" or "don't worry."
Iron Pile: Weights. Also, "pig iron."
IWF: Inmate Welfare Fund.
Jack: To steal. (LA)
Jack Up: Confrontational "request."
Jacket: Central File. Label. To be marked as a snitch, informant, or other identifying label: "He has a rat jacket."
Jackin' Rec: (1) Wasting time. (El Reno, OK). (2) Ruining someones recreation time by causing a disruption
Jack Mack: Canned makarel sold at the commissary. Sometimes put in a sock to be used as a weapon. (TX)
Jackrabbit Parole: Escaping after serving a long sentence. (Can.)
Jail: (1) A county facility for pretrial detainees or prisoners serving short terms (less than a year). Distinct from prison. (2) Lock up or solitary. (TX)
Jailhouse Lawyer: A prisoner who assist others in filing legal actions. Some are quite knowledgeable, others know enough to get themselves or others into trouble. Jailhouse lawyers are important because most prisoners have limited access to law libraries, little legal knowledge, and there are all too few lawyers able to assist prisoners.
Jailin': (1)Someone who's in the hole (aka in jail). (2)Wives or girlfriends who visit regularly - "That's our lifestyle - jailin!"
"Jailin' was an art from and lifestyle both. The style was walkin' slow, drinkin' plenty of water, and doin' your own time; the art was lightin' cigarettes from wall sockets, playin' the dozens, cuttin' up dream jackpots, and slowin' your metabolism to a crawl, sleepin' twenty-four hours a day. Forget the streets you won't see for years. Lettin' your heart beat the bricks with your body behind bars was hard time. Acceptin' the jailhouse as the only reality was easy time. " -- Seth Morgan, Homeboy.
Jam Up: Ask a prisoner about something.
Jeff: Joke, play
Jigger: (1) Warning of staff approaching. (2) One who watches while illegal act takes place. A lookout person. (TX)
Jitterbug Young, juvenile, troublemaker. Or, "jit." (FL) A prisoner under 21 years-old.
Jody: The anonymous lover taken by a wife or girlfriend. A prisoner whose wife is cheating on him. Also "sancho."
JohnnyL A sandwich in a sack, usually served to prisoners in segregation or lockdown, which may be nothing more than stale bread with a little peanut butter. (TX)
Jolt: A long sentence.
Jones: Drug habit (or any other habit).
Jont: A word that can be used in place of other words or things. From a misspelling of the word "joint." Also, "jiont." As in, "I got framed on that jont."
Joto: Homosexual, punk. (Sp., TX)
Juice Card: Privileges afforded a prisoner based on an officer's favor. As in, "He's on the phone again, must have a juice card."
Julip: Prison-made alcohol, fermented juice. From "mint julip." (TN)
Jug: To verbally harass or provoke, generally done by an officer with the intention of getting the prisoner to fight. (TX)
Jump: Homemade alcohol or pruno. (MD)
Jumping Out: Turning to crime.
Jump the Broom: When one prisoner "marries" another prisoner.
Jump Out Boys: A small team of correctional officers that drives up to an ouside walk way or into a reacreation yard, jumps out of the vehicle, and snatches up one or more offenders for a shakedown or interrogation. Also a small team that quickly enters a cell house and does the same thing. (IN)
June Bug: A prisoner who is considered to be a slave or footman for others.
Kamikaze Move: A hit in front of an officer.
Keep It Real: Don't lie.
Keep locked: Locked up for disciplinary reasons. See also "Red Lock."
Keester: or "Keister." To hide contraband in the rectum. Prisoners keester money, drugs, and even shanks. Also, "Keester Bunny," one who keesters.
Key: Pack of cigarettes. (NY)
Kicking It: (1) Sleeping with someone. (2) Hanging out with a friend.
Kick Rocks: Go away or leave alone.
Kill: To masturbate, as in "I got a picture of my ***** in the world I kill to at night." (TX)
Kit: Items for taking drugs.
Kite: Notes or letters. Any message passed to a prisoner. To "shoot a kite" is to send a message.
Kitestringing: Messages or bags of property sent from cell to cell via homemade string, thread or twine (FL).
Kitty Kitty: Female officers.
Knick-Knack: Same as "lame."
KOP: Keep on Person. Medications that a prisoner is allowed to keep with his or her property, to avoide going to a pill line every day (TX).
K-9 Corrections officer (canine)
L: Life. As in "25 to L."
Lag: A convict; the oppose of "lop."
Lame: Someone who doesn't fit in with a certain click. Also, lop, rudipoop, or rumkin.
Laws: Correctional officers. (TX)
Lay-In: (1) A pass or chrono allowing a sick prisoner not to work. (2) An appointment.
Layng It Down: Robbing anoter person of their goods. As in "I like those shoes lay it down." (Ga)
Laying the Track: Having sex.
Lemac: A camel cigarette. Also, "little man" (archaic).
Let Me Bounce Your Car: Can I borrow your radio?
Lettuce: Prisoners who go out to gang rape.
Life + 1: Life without parole. (MT)
Life on the Installment Plan: Serving an effective life sentence through a series of lesser terms.
Lifer: A prisoner serving a life sentence.
Limbo: Time in jail before trial.
Line: The mainline, or general population, as in "on the line."
Little *****: A sentence of fifty or more years. See also "Big *****." (TX)
L Note: Life sentence. (VA)
Lockdown: The policy of confining a group of prisoners or an entire prison to cells. This is generally done in response to unrest or emergency -- although some lockdowns are instituted for extended periods of time.
Lock in the Sock: A lock or other heavy object that is put in a sock for use as a weapon. (Can.)
Lock Up Unit: Segregated unit; the adjustment center; disciplinary detention.
Long Ride: Doing life.
Loogan: Mentally ill prisoner. (Ontario, Canada)
LOP: Loss of privileges, a particular kind of cell restriction. (TX)
Lop: A prisoner held in low regard or considered stupid. A fool, chump or sucker.
Lope: An envelope for sending letters, often used as a small unit of exchange. (OR)
Love: "Love is so hard when i just cant touch or hear your voice i can only see your hand writing. i wish i can see your face once again, so much love and hope for your love once again."
Lugged: To be cuffed and taken to segregation.
Luv, Luv Being well off. as in. "living luv,luv."
L.W.O.P.: Life Without Possibility of Parole. ("el-wop"
M - O
Ma: A girlfriend of a prisoner who is sticking it out.
Mafias: Dark sun-glasses.
Mag: Correctional officer. "Put that shank away.. here comes mag!" (NY)
Main Line: The general population.
Make Paper: Make parole.
Malasa: Used in segregation units by spanish inmates when an officer comes onto the run. (TX)
Man: An officer someone in a position of authority -- "The Man."
Man Walking: A signal that an officer is coming down the tier.
Mash: Homemade cell wine, also called hooch or pruno. (VA)
May tag1) Passive homosexual partner. (TX) (2) An imate who is forced to wash clothes for another. (NY)
Max Out: To serve one's full sentence.
Mecca Tower: Tower in the center of a prison. (FL)
Meditation: Solitary or segregated confinement. (TX)
MERD: Minimum Eligible Release Date for a specified term in security houseing.
Meth Charge: Child molestation, as in "mething around." (Iowa)
Mexican Round Up: Group harassment of Chicanos, including mass discipline for alleged gang activity. (TX)
Mickey Mouse Ticket: Disciplinary report. (WY)
Midnight Express: Escape, when one catches the "midnight express." Derived from the film of the same name, detailing an escape from a Turkish prison.
Missive: Many prisoners commonly use this word to refer to correspondence.
MTA: Medical technician.
Monkey: Correctional officer.
Monkey Mouth: Individual who speaks constantly about nothing substantial or valid.
Moe: Married homosexual in prison.
Monster: HIV. "He has the Monster." Also called "Ninja" (FL).
Mud Check: Confronting a convict to see if he or she will stand up for one's self.
Mule: Individual who transports contraband to a prisoner.
Muling: Using devices to move contraband from one location to another. (NC)
Mummy Dust: MJB coffee.
Mushfake: Any prisoner made item, including shanks or handmade weapons. (Ohio)
My Bad: My fault.
Navaja Shank or razor. (Sp., TX)
Nazi Low Rider: A white prison-street gang.
Nester: A member of Nuestra Familia
New Boot: A new correctional officer. (TX)
New Jack: New officeer or prisoner.
Nickel: A five-year term.
NF: Nuestra Familia, a Northern Hispanic prison gang.
No Smoke: The prisoner will follow the orders of staff and not cause any problems. (MI)
Nothin' Coming: Inmate not deserving of regular issue or privileges, as in "That little girl stranglin' SOB has nothin' coming."
Nut up: Go crazy, become enraged. To plead insanity, sometimes shortened to "nutted."
Off the Chain: Go crazy. (FL)
Off the Hook: , wierd, odd. "He's off the hook", "This place is off the hook". (NY)
Old Head: Someone who has been incarcerated for many years. (VA)
Old Lady: Passive partner in a prison homosexual relationship.
Old School: An old timer. One who has the values of a "convict" when prisoners paid more respect to each other.
Old-Timer: A convict who has served a lot of time inside. A member of the Old School. An "O.G" (old guy)
One Time: A warning call when an officer enters a tier. (LA)
On his leg: Pestering someone for special favors.
On Pipe: A homosexual or "punk" as il "He's on pipe."
On the Bottle: Subject to random or mandatory drug testing.
On the Bumper: Trying to get in the "car."
On the Cool: The meaning depends upon the intonation. Usually means something of a deceptive nature, however, spoken with intent it translates into pure truth. (TX)
On the Gate: Open the door.
On the Leg: A prisoner who is always chatting with officers.
On the Line: For sale (L.A. County Jail).
On the New: A new prisoner; a fish. Either used to justify inadvertent mistakes or to deride one who has made a mistake. (IL)
On the One: Honest. (George Washington, who was known never to lie, is on the one-dollar bill.) (TX)
On the River: A phrase used to describe time spent at Angola State Prison in Louisiana, which is surrounded by rivers on three sides. (LA)
Operation: Mass cell search. (IL)
Out There Bad: To be in the wrong. "Man, you out there bad for doing that." (LA)
P.A. (1) Program Administrator, responsible for particular units in California prisons. (2) In Texas, this may refer to physician's assistants.
Pack: (1)To carry contraband in the rectum. See also "Keester." (2) Carrying a concealed weapon. (MI)
Package: To have AIDS, or the "total package." (TX Fed.)
Packin': A prisoner who is carrying a weapon or drugs for sale. (VA)
Paid: A favorable outcome of a parole or classification hearing.
Paper: Proof that a prisoner is an informant or "rat." As in "We've got the paper on him."
Paperwork: (1) Prison records. (2) Complaint filed by officer against a prisoner. (IN)
Parole Dust: Fog.
Passenger: A friend, someone who is "in the car."
PC: Protective custody. Prisoners may be placed in protective custody for a number of reasons -- they may have snitched on a gang, the nature of an offense (such as child molestation) was leaked to others, or there is some weakness that would make them a victim. Also may be referred to as PS (protective segregation) (AZ).
Pearl Handle: A commercial cigarette. (AL)
Pearl: Move on or get out of the way fast.
Pecker Palace: A place for conjugal visits.
Peckerwood: A white prisoner. Originally, this was a derogatory term, but it has been adopted by some white gangs as positive reflection of gang loyalty.
Peels: An orange jumpsuit worn in some jails and prisons, from "orange peels."
Peter: A prisoners cell. (Scotland)
Pill Line: Line to receive perscribed medications.
Picket: The central area of tier wings or the hub of a dorm, where the bosses sit and supplies / forms may be available. (TX)
Pelicanizing: The process of implementing further restrictions at mainline prisons, resembling segregation units. Refers to the "super-maximum" prison at Pelican Bay.
Pencil Whipped: To be written up by an officer. (TX)
Phat: Pretty Hot And Tempting (attractive female). (FL)
PHD: Pre-Hearing detention, or ad seg. (TX)
Phone: (1) In the SHU, the toilet may be bailed out and used to talk to other prisoners. As in "Hey Joe get on the phone." (2) Someone wants to speak to the person.
Phones Off The Hook: The guard is listening
PHU: Protective Housing Unit. Unit assigned to prisoners who cannot program anywhere else in the system and meet certain criteria.
PIA: (1) P`iPon Industry Authority. (2) In Texas, this stands for Parole In Absentia, the practice that allows individuals to parole from the county jail having served their time there.
Pica: Knife (TX).
Pile Weights, as in the iron pile.
Pillow Biter: Prisoner who is a rape victim. (NY)
Pinner: A marijuana cigarette the size of a toothpick.
Pipeline: A channel through which contraband enters a prison.
Pitcher: Sexually dominant, aggressive.
Placa: Corrrectional Officers. (Sp.)
Playing on ***: Gambling without money -- if a prisoner loses " it's his ***."
Plexin: To be anxious or nervous. (NY)
Points: Prisoners in California are classified by security level according to the number of points awarded various factors on a scoresheet.
Pole Smoker: Homosexual.
Policing: An officer who is doing his or her job. "That officer is policing hard."
Polo Club: Checking into Protective Custody. As in, "He checked into the Polo Club because he couldn't pay his drug bill" (NY)
Po Po: Any officer. From "police." (MO)
Potty Watch: Special watch when someone is suspected of eating drugs or other contraband items, such as money. Also called, Dry Cell.
Pound: One's compound or yard, as in "How are things on the pound?"
Press Your Bunk Punk: Lay down on your bed and shut up
Priors: Previous prison terms, enhancing one's sentence or affecting the classification score
Prize of the Poor: Capital Punishment.
Pruno: Homemade alcohol, fermented juice, the classic prison drink. It is made by putting fruit juice, fruit, fruit peelings in a plastic bag with bread and/or sugar. The yeast in the bread along with the sugar helps ferment the fruit juice, fruit, or peelings. The plastic bag is usually placed down the toilet and secured so that it is not detected.
Pulling Someone's Card: Finding out about another prisoner.
Pull the Pin: Call for help, sometimes derogitory towards officers. "He's gonna pull the pin," or "He'd probably pull the pin." (NY)
Pumpkin Head: To have put something in pillow case and beaten somebody with it until their face becomes bruised or a "pumpkin head." Also, to give a "pumpkin head degree."
Punk: Homosexual, generally passive.
Punk City: Protective Custody.
Punking Out: (1) A prisoner who performs intercourse by force or free will. (2) To trade sexual favors for commisary (FL). (3) Disrespecting another, as in "You got punked-out by him" (Maine).
Purple: Illegal drugs going through the prison system.
Put Grass Under You: Walk away from a conversation.
Put on Front Street: Openly defy, as a prisoner will "put [a guard] on front street."
Put Off: Parole date set back.
Put Your Pen to the Wind: By prisoners, to tell an officer to go ahead and write a disciplinary report. By officers, to tell prisoners to go ahead and file a grievance. (TX)
Quiet Cell: A security cell with a double door, insulated from noise. Usually used for punishment purposes and isolation cells. Similar to "box-car" cells at ADX Florence.
R-Suffix: A designation for sexual offenders that limits (restricts) placement decisions. For obvious reasons, this suffix is to remain confidential.
Rabbit: a prisoner who is likely to try and escape, someone who "has rabbit in him." (TX / FL)
Rack In: Get in the cell.
Radio: (1) An old term asking for quiet (Shut up and listen to the radio). (2) A warning that an officer is walking towards one, and to turn off the radio or stop what one is doing.
Range Runners: Prisoners who are assigned to work details in housing units, where they may clean floors, take out the garbage, or provide particular items.
Rag: A bandanna.
Rank: High ranking officers, such as lieutenants or captains. As in "I want to talk to some rank."
Range: Tier, as in "yell down the range."
Rat: An informant. See "Snitch."
R.B.: "Rich *****." Someone who has usually a lot of items, often top of the line in expense
Real Friend: Someone who sends packages or money.
Reals: Name brand cigarettes. (VA)
Red Tag: Confine to a cell.
Red Light Special: A death warrant on a member of the opposing gang.
Red Lock: A color code used by prisons to indicate that a lock must be shut at all times when unattended. Also designates segregation.
Rest Your Neck: Be quiet, as in "Lay down and rest your neck." Also, "Bite your pillow."
Retired: A lifer.
Rev: A religious prisoner.
Ride: (1) To pay commisary or sexual favors to prevent being assaulted by other inmates. (2) To go along with someone. (TX)
Ride Out: Transfer to a new prison. "They're riding out tomorrow."
Rider Shield: Getting in good with the correctional officers in order to not get attacked; brown nosing; sticking to the guards like glue. See also "riding leg."
Riding Leg: Becoming friendly to staff to get a favor. "He sure is riding that Lt's leg hard to get a bunk change." A prisoner who becomes friendly with officers may be known as a "leg rider" (ElReno, OK) or is "on the leg."
Rip: Hand-rolled cigarette. (FL)
Ripper: Rapist. (CT)
Road dogs: Prisoners who walk the track on the exercise yard together, as in the illustration. A person who has remained a best friend through thick and thin whether on the inside or on the outside.
Road Kill: Cigarette butts picked up on side side of road when out on a road clean up crew. They are taken back to the cell and rerolled in a toilet paper wrapper
Rolling: Officers coming on to the tier.
Roll Out: To move to other housing. Originally from rolling one's belongings into the mattress for a move. Also, "roll up."
Roll Over: To give up information or to snitch on another prisoner in order to avoid a harsher punishment.
Roll Right: Cigarette, not named brand.
Rolled Up: To be arrested or given a disciplinary write up.
Row: Tiers. (TX)
Ruca(o): Old Lady or Old Man ... as in, "She/he is my ..." (Sp.)
Rughead: African-American prisoner.
Rumdum" A prisoner who is considered to be weak. (Iowa)
Runner: A person that is supporting prisoner with packages &/or money orders.
Running Someon's Tags: Finding information about another prisoner.
Run Through Planned escape.
Rustle: Riot or disturbance.
Rustler: Predator, wolf.
S - U
Safe: Women prisoners may hide contraband in the "safe" (vagina).
Sallyport: The secured area where officers and other individuals pass into the institution or enter particular areas of the prison.
Sancho: The person who takes up a relationship with a prisoner's wife while he is serving a prison term.
Schooled: Taught in the ways of prison life.
Scooper: Eating with a spoon.
Scrapa: Northern Mexican term for Southern Mexicans. (Sp.)
Screw: Officer. (archaic)
Sealed Indictment: a disciplinary violation written by an officer without bothering to notify the inmate that it is being written. (TX)
Seg: Segregation (isolated or disciplinary unit), as in "ad seg".
Sending Out: In order to make a point about prison conditions, a weak inmate may be beaten, or sent out of the unit.
Serving a Second: Serving a term for second degree murder. (MA)
Set Off: To be denied parole for a period of time. (TX)
Shakedown: A search of a cell, work area, or person. The most common complaint by prisoners is that property is lost, destroyed, or left scattered after a search
Shank: Handmade prison weapon -- generally a stabbing instrument. Also called a shiv or a piece.
Shark: A guard who always makes a point of watching when men are in the showers. Also called a "Peter Gazer." (AZ)
Sheen: Marijuana. (Like an oil film on water, marijuana may also distort one's reality.) (NY)
Shine: (1) Homemade prison alcohol. See Pruno. (IL) (2) To show off in front of other prisoners. (FL)
****: HIV / AIDS. As in "She's got the ****, be careful about letting her use your rig!"
Shokram: To slice someones throat, throwing a homemade weapon
Shooting: Having sex with a punk, as in "shooting at someone." (TX)
Shooting a Move: Breaking a rule.
Short: (1) To be near the end of a sentence. (2) The short end of a cigarette. (FL)
Short Eyes1) Child molester. (archaic) (2) Pornography, held close to one's face. (NY)
Short Hair: A new correctional officer. (AK)
Shot: Friend. Disciplinary charge.
Shot Caller: A person on the yards who directs action/discipline. Someone in authority in a gang, a high ranking gang member.
Shot out (to the curb): Useless, worn out.
Shower Hawk: A prisoner who preys upon others in the showers.
SHU: Security Housing Unit. Segregation, the Hole. Prisoners may be placed in the SHU for limited disciplinary terms or on an indeterminate basis for posing a general threat to prison security (such as alleged gang affiliation). The most notorious SHU unit in California is at the "super-maximum" Pelican Bay (pictured here), and is characterized by isolation, sensory deprivation, limited access to programs, and the use of force. Madrid v. Gomez, 889 F.Supp. 1146 (N.D. Cal. 1996). Pronounced "shoe."
Siberia: Isolation unit (LA County Jail).
Signed In: Put oneself in protective custody.
Sister: A younger prisoner who trades sexual favors for protection.
Sissy: A feminine prisoner in a homosexual relationship. (KY)
Six: Keep watch, as in "Hey, Joe, keep six for me."
Skating: Being in an area of the prison you are not allowed, especially another housing unit. Being "out of place".
Skeet: A hit of heroin.
Skid Bid: Short sentence.
Skinner: (1) Sex offender (ME). (2) New inmate or officer. (OK).
Slam: Use of force by an officer, bringing a prisoner to the floor and restraining him/her. The prisoner may be thrown to the ground, face first, while in handcuffs. (TX)
Slam down: To place in segregation or to lock up an institution or unit. May be shortened as a verb, "slammed."
Slammer: Jail or prison (archaic).
Sleep: To knock someone one. "I sleeped him."
Smoke on the Horizon: Increasing tensions and grievances that may explode into violence.
Snitch: An informant. Rat. One who has given up names or activities. In theory, the use of confidential information against a prisoner has certain procedural safeguards. In practice, "prison officials rely upon shadowy information . . . in a context prone to manipulative deception." In re Jackson(1987) 43 Cal.3d 501, quoting special master in Toussaint v. McCarthy.
Son: A prison "*****." or punk. (NY)
Speeding Ticket: A rules violation notice for inappropriate behavior in the visiting room, such as kissing or touching.
Spider Monkey: Somone doing hard time, climbing the walls.
Split Your Wig: A quick punch to the head. (TX)
Spread: A feast of prisoner invented or created culinary specialities.
Sport Coat: A person whom a girlfriend is dating while a prisoner is locked up." Don't worry about her man, she just put on a sport coat for awhile." (MD)
Spread Your Shots: Borrow elsewhere. "It's okay for now, but why don't you spread your shots?" Also referred to as "Spread your hustle."
Spud Juice: Homemade alcohol, sometimes made with potatos. See also, pruno. (MI)
Spun Out: , stupid, idiotic.
SSU: Special Services Unit, the security (or "goon" squad.
Stand Your Gate: Order for prisoner to be in position in front of the cell.
Stand Point: To keep lookout for another prisoner.
Stash: To hide something.
Square: A cigarette. Also, a quantity of loose tobacco. (TX)
State Issue: Food, prison clothing, and other items given or mandated by the state.
Steel: A shank or homemade prison knife. (VA)
Straight: "That's straight, " or "I'm happy with that."
State Issue: Things provided by the state, usually clothes.
Stay Down1) Engage in a fight to prove one's manhood. (TX). (2) To stay by one's side and support a prisoner / loved one in various ways.
Stiched up: A problem that has been taken care of, generally through a fight.
Stick: (1) To stab with a knife. (2) Used by prisoners to designate someone as their pal or homeboy. The term is used by the correctional officers when referring to each other or other staff members as in the person who will stick by them in case trouble breaks out. Also called "stick man." (VA)
Stinger: Appliance used to heat water, which may be created by attaching live electrical wires to a metal plate.
Stir: A general term for prison dating from the mid-19th century. "Stir crazy," originated around 1925 to describe a prisoner who had become mentally disordered due to imprisonment. A "stir hustler" mastered the art of imprisonment. "Stir belly" described indigestion caused by tension or fear.
Stole: To be hit without warning. As in, "Man, he stole you." (TX)
Stop: A particular facility or site in the context of classification or transfer. A "good stop" is a preferred prison. (MA)
Story Up: Prove wht one is saying or admit that it is a lie. (Ont, Canada)
Strawberry: A woman who gives sex for drugs. (MO)
Street: The outside world, as in "on the street."
Striker: A device similar to a stinger used to light cigarettes. It generally consist of a bent paper clip pushed thru the erasure end of a pencil and another small piece of wire. When both are pushed into an outlet, the prisoner taps the wire on the carbon on the writing end of the pencil causing a carbon arch with hot sparks. (UT)
Stuck Out: Not getting something that was wanted. "You missed chow...you're stuck-out!" (TX)
Stuffing: Carryng drugs inside the rectum. (NY)
Stuntin' To lie, or to pretend to have knowledge of something.
Sucker Stroking: To get teary eyes missing one's girlfriend. As in "He's really sucker stroking over her."
Suit Casing: Carrying drugs/contraband in rectum. (NC)
Suitcasing: To conceal contraband in one's rectum. (NC)
Sureno:South side, South Sider. A hispanic prison gang member from the southern side of California.
Swag: Sandwich made by kitchen workers to pay off a debt.
Sweetie-Gold: Individually wrapped cookie-cakes saved from meals and used for gambling
Switch: A sandwich. (BC, Can.)
Swoll: Or "swole." (1) Unhappy,mad, angry. "He's swoll because he just caught a case." (TX) (2) Big, muscular.
T-Jones: a prisoner's mother; Parents. Used primarily by African-Americans. "I got a letter from my T-Jones."
Tack Head: Someone's woman
Tack Up: Confrontational order, as in sticking someone against a wall.
Tally Ho: Rubber cement found in prison shoes, used as an inhalant.
Tally Water: An intoxicant that is inhaled.
Teardrop: Ten year sentence.
Ticket: A transfer order; disciplinary report.
Tip: Prison gang.
Tailor made: a packaged cigarette, as distinguished from roll your own tobacco.
Talking out the side of his neck: Disbelief in what a prisoner is saying. From past practices when prisoners were not allowed to speak to each other and learned to talk to the person next to them while standing and looking straight ahead.
Tank Boss: Prisoner in charge of an area shared by others. May receive certain favors for keeping others in line. (TX)
Taking it to the Square: To call out for a fight. (TX)
Teller: A snitch or informant. (VT)
The Go Slow: Disciplinary unit, as "They gave him seven days in the go-slow."
Three Knee Deep: Stabbed with a shank, not deep enough to kill, as a warning.
Three Snap Case: An individual likely to go berzerk at any given moment.
Throwed Off: Anti-social conduct; questionable sanity. (TX)
Throw Up a Block: When a prisoner (or group of prisoners) block the view of officers to hide the actions of others. (NY)
Tib: Cell. (IL)
Tipped up: Member of the Aryan Brotherhood or other prison gang.
Tit: Drugs, heroin.
Toosh Hog: A hard ***. Someone who is tough and is respected by other convicts. (VA)
Tossing Salad: Stronger, older, inmate forcing a weaker, newer prisoner to lick his anus.
To the Door: How long one has to serve. As in, "I got five to the door." (FL)
Traffic Ticket: Minor disciplinary offense.
Trailer: A conjugal visit, as in a "trailer visit." (NY)
Train: Transportation from a county jail to prison (TX).
Transpack: To pack one's belongings for a transfer.
Tree Jumper: (1) Rapist. (2) Someone convicted of a sex crime which involves a minor. Also, "tree chopper." (CA)
Trees Marijuana. (NY)
Trick: Someone from the outside who is used as a source of money or other favors.
T.S.: Texas Syndicate. A prison gang, apparently no longer active in California, but still a factor in Texas.
Tuck: To sneak contraband anally.
'Tude: Bad attitude.
Tune Up: A severe beating by an officer.
Turnkey: A guard who is there just to open doors, who cares about nothing other than doing his or her shift.
Turn Out: To rape or make into a "punk."
Twist Your Cap: To shoot or kill.
Unit: A particular part of the prison, as in "What unit are you in?"
Up The Road: Being transported from jail to prison.
Viking: (1)To live the good life, to enjoy a particular bounty of goods while in prison. (2) A slob who doesn't keep his cell clean.
The Walk: The walkway in a prison which leads from one place to another. Most walks contain yellow lines on both sides. Inmates are required to walk on one side of the lines.
Walkalone: A prisoner who cannot exercise on a yard with other prisoners. San Quentin's death row has a yard for "walkalones" to exercise together.
Walking Down Paper: Serving the balance of an original sentence on parole.
War Daddy: A prisoner who protects another inmate from criminal or mischevious acts inside a prison. a protected inmate must also "pay" this protection.(FL)
Warden's Court: Internal hearing for disciplinary charges. (Can.)
Warehouse: An institution with overcrowded conditions and little or no program. Housing may be in a dorm or a gym converted to living space.
Wariche: Coffee (Spanish).
Water Bug: A small, homemade electrical device used for heating water. (FL) Also called a "stinger."
Waterhead: A derogatory term referring to an inept inmate. Someone who does not fit in and is not respected.
Wave Cap: Cloth worn on the head of a prisoner. (MI)
Weedy-Weedy: To snitch or provide information on someone.
Weezo: Snitch, informant. (TX)
Went Up In That Fire: Has AIDS.
White Ain't Right: Apart from the racial meaning, anyone wearing the mandated white prison garb in Texas will never be believed in a disciplinary hearing or dispute with an officer. (TX)
White Money: Currency within an instituiton.
White Shirts: High ranking officers. (VA)
Wick: A tightly roled up piece of tiolet paper. When lit, it burns very slow, almost like a cigarette. May be used to light cigarettes where that is still possible.
Wire: A message, or info that comes over the phone, as in "I got a wire today about..."
Wobble Head: Prisoners with mental health problems or on medication.
Wolf Ticket: A prisoner or staffer who shoots of his mouth in an aggressive manner challenging others, without intending to back it up. As in "He's selling wolf tickets"
Wood: White prisoner, usually a derogatory term. From "Peckerwood."
World: Home, the outside world, as "When I get back to the world . . ."
Working the Corners: Building a relationship in prison to provide news, information, or protection. Being "plugged" into the prison undercurrents.
Worktime Credits: Half -time (one day for two) earned after California prisoners are assigned to a job.
Wreck: When a prisoner gets into trouble, as in "Did you hear about Jones? He got into a wreck last night on East yard."
Write Up: Disciplinary report.
Writ-Writer: A jailhouse lawyer, or someone who writes a lot of law suits or prison grievance appeals.
Yanked His Coat (or Jacket): Finding out and confronting another prisoner with something he or she may be hiding. Also, "Jam."
Yard: The exercise area. In segregation, the yard may be nothing more than a concrete "dog run" with no equipment. Other units may have a basketball court, recreation equipment, or grassy areas.
Yellow Brick Road: Yellow lines indicaing path that prisoners from stay within.
Yo Yo: A person who is not sexually active with other prisoners.
X-Cat:Lifer, in need of mental health evaluation.
Zoo Zoos: Canteen goods, such as candy or cookies. Also called "wham whams."
Do your own time: The fundamental prison maxim. Don't bother other prisoners or pry too deeply into their affairs.
Drink plenty of water and walk slow. . .: "The water will keep your system flushed and you're going nowhere fast." Time moves slowly, but there are consequences to every action.
Its mind over matter . . . They don't mind and you don't matter: An official action that lacks any logic. Officers do not care and a prisoner does not matter.
There are no secrets in the penitentiary: In prisons, rumor and gossip circulate fast.
You're in prison now: The reality of the situation.
They say NOBODY is perfect so just call me NOBODY