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Best Prison Slang Words

Best Prison Slang Words You (probably don’t) Need To Know

Can you translate this?  
“I have the keys for my Car but my Road Dogs are disappearing on me. One was 5150 and Did the Dutch, one left on Back Door Parole, one is a BB Filler on his way out. Two are in The Hole (one for Keistering a cell phone), one is jacked up on Brake Fluid (he’s got L Whop), one’s a J-Cat sent to the Ding Wing, one is a Dump Truck who caught the Ninja, one was picked up by a Meat Wagon after getting Molly whooped. The only one left is a a Fish who’s obsessed with a Kitty-Kitty. And me.”
Translation at the end of Glossary!

Please send us any prison slang words we’ve left out, include a definition and the state or prison where you’ve heard it. We’ll add them to the list, once we’ve verified their prevalence — and we’ll credit you! (or not, your choice)  We’ll keep adding to this list — which we’ve built with help from our Prison Writers, slang dictionaries and correction officers’ websites.


All Day: A life sentence
All Day and a Night: Life without parole

Back Door Parole: To die in prison
Bats: Cigarettes
Bean Slot: The opening in the cell door where food is delivered.
BB Filler: Body Bag Filler; usually a very ill prisoner.
Bid: Prison sentence
Big Bitch: Death Sentence
Bindle: A small package containing tobacco or drugs
Blues: Prison Clothes
Bonaru: Brand new prison clothes
Boneyard visit: Conjugal visit without kids
Brake Fluid: Psychiatric meds
Brogan: The state-issued work boots that inmates wear.
Brownies:  People who work in the kitchen
Bucky or Celly:  Cellmate
Buffing: Working out on the exercise bars with water, sandbags, and calisthenics
Bug: A prison staff member who can’t be trusted.
Bullett: A one-year sentence
Burpee:  An exercise involving a squat, a pushup and leg lifts

Cadillac: Coffee with cream and sugar; Also refers to an inmate’s bunk.
Cadillac Job: A desirable work assignment.
Cage: Your cell, aka Hole in the Wall, House, Buck
Car:  The group that one associates with while in prison (determined by gang affiliation or some other commonality like age, race, sexual identity, etc.)
Catch a Ride: To get high with a friend’s drugs
Cell Warrior: An inmate who acts tough when locked in his cell, but is a coward face-to-face.
Catching the Chain: When an inmate is leaving
Chatted Out:  Someone who has gone crazy
Choke Sandwich:  A peanut butter sandwich with no jelly
Chow:  Dinner
CO: A correctional officer
Cowboy: A new correctional officer.

Dime: 10-year sentence
Ding-wing: A prison’s psychiatric unit.
Dinner and a Show: While inmates eat glop in the chowhall (the Dinner), they watch other inmates fight and then get pepper sprayed by the guards (the Show).
Doing the Dutch: Committing suicide.
Dry Snitching: Ratting out another inmate by talking loudly about his bad behavior in front of guards. Giving information without naming names.
Duck: A correctional officer who’s seen as gullible, easily manipulated or bribed to smuggle in contraband. Also refers to a correctional official who reveals personal information about other prison staff to inmates. Sometimes refers to a doctor.
Dump Truck: Fat, lazy slob

FamBam:  A conjugal visit with children — vs the child-free “Boneyard” conjugal visit
Fiend: A drug addict
Fish: A new inmate who’s never been in prison before
5150: Crazy
Fresh meat: A batch of new Inmates

Get Hit: To catch a longer sentence from the parole board.
Getting Buzzed: Getting tattooed
Grapes: 411, information, gossip
Green Light:  The go-ahead to kill a person or gang affiliate on sight.

Has the Keys:  The person who controls or calls the shots for a group or gang
Hoe Check: Group beating given to prisoner to see if he’ll stand up for himself.
Hole, (the):  Solitary confinement
Hoop:  To hide contraband in one’s body cavity
Hot Medders: People who take over-the-counter medication
Hot One: A murder charge
Hot Water:  An officer is walking the tier; a warning to cease inappropriate behavior
House:  Your cell

J-Cat: Someone with mental issues.  A crazy or foolish person
Jody: A man sleeping with a prisoner’s wife/girlfriend on the outside.
June Bug: A prisoner considered to be a slave to others.

Kite:  A contraband note written on a small piece of paper and passed to others through underground methods.
Keister: To hide contraband in one’s rectum.
Kesue: Knife
Kitty Kitty: Female correctional officer

Lame Duck: A vulnerable inmate standing alone in the prison yard, easy to prey on
Life Jolt: A life sentence
L Whop:  Life without the possibility of parole
Lockdown: When some kind of disturbance in prison causes guards to lock all inmates in their cells, indefinitely, until calm is restored. Often involves a “shakedown.”
Lock-in-a-sock: A weapon created from putting a combination lock inside a sock and swinging it

Mando:  Mandatory
Meat Wagon: A hospital ambulance
Molly Whopped: To kick someone’s ass in a fight or to get your ass kicked in a fight
Monkey Mouth: A prisoner who goes on and on about nothing.
Monster: HIV, aka “the Ninja.”
Mud: Coffee

Netted up: Someone who goes crazy
New booties: Inmates with first-time conviction
Newjacks:  New, inexperienced COs
Nickle: 5-year sentence
Ninja, (The): HIV/AIDS; sometimes used for STDs in general
115: The document used to charge a prisoner with an infraction

On the line:  Has many meanings, but usually means something is for sale
O.G.:  An “original gangster;” a label of respect given to older inmates who has been in the prison system a long time.

PC: Protective Custody; a category of solitary confinement where the inmate needs protection from other inmates.
Permanent Pocket:   Refers to a person’s anus
Playing on Ass: Gambling without money
Porcelain Termite: A prisoner who busts up the toilet/sink in cell when s/he gets upset
Prison Pocket: Refers to a person’s anus
Prison Safe: The safest place to keep drugs, shanks, dice, etc. during cell inspections and transfers: see Prison Pocket.
Prison Wolf: A heterosexual prisoner who engages in sex with men while incarcerated.
Programmer: An inmate who spends most of his time attending classes and improving himself: the nerds of prison
Pruno: A homemade alcohol made from fruit, bread and anything with sugar, i.e. jelly, cookie cream, sodas, tootsie rolls, etc. and left to rot under a bunk for three days. No one drinks it for the taste…
Pumpkins: New inmates
Punk: Derogatory for a transsexual / homosexual OR any weak individual

Race Traitor:  Someone who socializes outside their race group
Ratchette:  A Nurse
Real Talk: Synonym for “seriously” or “for real” — used to let others know that you are talking honestly and sincerely and that what you are expressing is not a joke. Also used to affirm what others are saying is true.
Rec: Recreation; the hour a day allowed outside in the yard.
Ride Leg: To suck up to staff to get favors
Road Dog: Prisoners who walk the track together during “rec”; also means close friends
Roll up your window: A request to stop eavesdropping on another inmate’s conversation, especially do not comment on the conversation uninvited

S to Life:  A basketball game without rules
Sancho:  The person your wife/girlfriend is with on the outside
Sex Play:  To verbally or physically communicate in a sexual manner
Shakedown: When prison guards tear apart inmates’ cells looking for contraband.
Shit on a single:  A breakfast meal that has fake ground beef with watered down gravy
Shiv: Homemade Knife
S.I.S.: Special Investigative Service, the CIA of prison guards who investigate incidents in prison.
Skittles: Over the counter medications
Spider Monkey: Someone doing hard time
Spread: Gourmet prison meal; often used to describe big potluck meals put together for a group of inmates by a designated cook or two; Includes rice, ramen soups, fish, chili, tortilla chips etc
Strapped: When someone is carrying a weapon
Stress Box: The pay phone booths
Stingers:  A rigged heating element created out of metal, designed to get water to boil.
Inmates will connect two wires from any source, TV plugs headphones or even handmade wire from aluminum foil to any 2 separated metal objects, usually metal-plates. By connecting the two wires to the outlet and dropping the stinger in the water the AC current will pass through the water heating it up.
Sucker Ducker:  Someone who stays away from people who cause trouble
Survival Kit:  A pillow case or sheet rolled up with a sheet, blanket, pillow case, 2 pairs of socks, 2 underwear, 2 t-shirts, and a little bag with 1 hotel bar soap, 1 mini toothpaste, a mini pencil, a shaving razor, cup, and spoon

Take flight:  To attack a person using fists
Time to Feed the Warden:  Meaning one has to go to the bathroom. If the warden is going to feed us crappy food, we’re going to feed it back to him… digested.
Torpedo:  Prison gangs are kind of like submarines. You have the captain, the Shot Caller, and his faithful enforcer, The Torpedo.

Vampire: People who draw blood
Vick: A victim or someone who’s about to be victimized
Viking: Someone who is extremely lazy and unwilling to keep their living space or themselves clean.
Violators: Repeat offenders with two or more times in prison

Wham whams: Cookies and candies
Zoom zooms:  Cookies and candies

Now here’s the translation of the first paragraph! (with the original paragraph below)

“I’m the leader of the group/gang I hang out with, but my buddies are disappearing on me. One went nuts and committed suicide, one died in prison, one is very ill and dying. Two are in solitary confinement (one for hiding a cell phone in his anus), one is jacked up on psychiatric medication (he has life without parole), one is a crazy fool who was sent to the psych unit, one is a lazy slob who got HIV/AIDS, one was taken away in an ambulance after getting beaten up. The only one left is a new first-time offender who’s obsessed with a female prison guard. And me.”

And here’s the original to compare the two:

“I have the keys for my Car but my Road Dogs are disappearing on me. One was 5150 and Did the Dutch, one left on Back Door Parole, one is a BB Filler on his way out. Two are in The Hole (one for Keistering a cell phone), one is jacked up on Brake Fluid (he’s got L Whop), one’s a J-Cat sent to the Ding Wing, one is a Dump Truck who caught the Ninja, one was picked up by a Meat Wagon after getting Molly whooped. The only one left is a a Fish who’s obsessed with a Kitty-Kitty. And me.”

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