Prison Terminology Dictionary

Prison Terminology Dictionary | Noah Bergland | construction2style

Noah here, back again.

We had a few readers that asked me to clarify all of this Prison terminology, so here we go… 

Getting used to the way people talk in prison can take some work, because of the slang, different backgrounds, etc. And from the outside world, we thought you might just need a key of sorts to figure some of it out.

  • (A) List: commissary that you may owe somebody, so they give you a list. You bought something from another inmate, give me a list
  • Ace Deuce: your right-hand man
  • Barbarian or Viking: someone who doesn’t shower regularly or often enough
  • Bed Book count: roll call next to your bunk with ID and state “name and number”
  • Books: account where people can deposit money
  • Break you off or Drop you off: good or intense workout that you may or may not finish.
  • Bunkie: The roommate you share a bunk bed with
  • Cadillac: a bed with no top bunk or a plastic chair with armrests
  • Camp: minimum security classification
  • Car: Group of guys you workout with; can also refer to the group of people you hang out with or are affiliated with
  • Care Package: something your homeboys will give you when you touch down at a new spot, contains essentials (hygiene, coffee, etc.)
  • Cellie: A roommate; Inmates are used to living in cells so whether they live in one or not, they refer to their roommates as “cellies” – I am guilty of this as well as I am now at a camp with a dorm room setting.
  • Check-in: voluntary surrender to the SHU
  • Checked in/Ran up top: involuntary surrender to the SHU by another party
  • Cho/Mo/Chomo: Sex offender, child molester
  • Chow (Hall): cafeteria
  • Clownin’: acting a fool, messing around
  • Compound stamps: old stamps that are not mail-able because of the shape they are in, and/or aren’t forever stamps
  • Count time: The different times in the day we have roll call or stand up count.
  • Crash test dummy: another name for a truck; someone you don’t want to be around because they are on a course to get in trouble
  • Dance floor: visiting
  • Dancing shoes: visiting boots
  • Dirt: illegal activity
  • Fish: mackerel, tuna, salmon, oyster, clam
  • Flat book: a complete book of stamps (20), once one is removed they are now loose stamps
  • Fuck boy: someone who belongs to a group and provides sexual favors
  • Fuck with: associate with
  • Fuck your time off: losing good time, when someone else does something stupid, gets in a wreck and pulls you in
  • Get in the water: Take a shower; wash your ass
  • Get Money: Lift weights or exercise
  • Gold Mine: your butt; “I don’t know why you’re broke, you are sitting on a gold mine.” Haha
  • Good time: time earned each year to get out early. In the federal prisons, you get 15%, so off 10 years, you get 18 months good time.
  • Hard timing: an inmate who lays in bed all day in agony over the time he/she is doing
  • High: USP or United States Penitentiary
  • Hole/SHU: special housing unit for disciplinary actions
  • Homeboy: usually from your same hometown or state, and you hang out with them or associate
  • Hooch: homemade booze/liquor
  • Hooked up/Plugged in: connected well throughout the prison
  • Hoopin/Keaster/Prison Purse/Prison Wallet/Prison Pouch: storing things in your butt.
  • Hustle man: an inmate who walks around selling merchandise, homemade candy or bars, or offers services such as cleaning
  • Jack/Burner: a cell phone.
  • Jigging: looking out for illegal activity
  • Juice it: the process of drying out re-chew and using the spit to pour on it to get more nicotine – Ya I know it’s sick! I never did this.
  • Laced up: having your boots tied up and ready in case shit pops off.
  • Lame/Square: a responsible person 
  • Laundryman: an inmate who will wash your clothes for $7-$10 a month, or three stamps/one mac a load.
  • Lock Down: emergency closure of the compound; Usually, someone has screwed up pretty bad, and they need to clean it up.
  • Locked up: thrown in the hole or SHU
  • Loose stamps: individual stamps
  • Low: FCI “Low” security classification
  • Mac: is a mackeral, a baitfish that costs around a dollar, and is a common source of food or protein for an inmate
  • Mainline: The time you eat; cafeteria 7 am, 11 am, 5 pm
  • Medium: FCI “Medium” security classification
  • Playin’: messing around
  • Pill Line: when the prisoners with mental illness issues get their meds; “Don’t trust anyone that goes to pill line.”
  • (The) Rack: your bed
  • Rat/Snitch/No Good/Bank Teller: All things to describe someone who has told on their case or tells on the compound
  • Re-chew: already chewed tobacco that is chewed again by someone else
  • Rec: gym
  • Recall: time to go back to work or unit
  • Rep: a representative for a group or car, someone who speaks for the group with authority figures or other groups
  • Road Dog: not necessarily your homeboy but someone you run around with or associate with or do dirt with
  • Shit popping off: riots, fights, altercations
  • Shot Caller: someone who makes decisions inside the group
  • Slick: running your mouth
  • Slipping: starting to screw up or get off track, hanging with the wrong people, or getting out of control
  • Spitterette: a cigarette made from re-chew
  • Stand up count: roll call at work or next to our bunks or lockers
  • Stir the pot: starting trouble
  • Store: commissary
  • Storeman: inmate you can buy commissary items from for a 20-30% markup
  • Ticket: Gambling pool that you can bet on, sports, elections, racing, etc.
  • Ticket man: inmate you can gamble through
  • Truck: someone you use to do your dirt, usually doesn’t have a good time to lose and/or doesn’t care about much
  • Unit: the building you live in
  • Weight pile: the weight room
  • Wind up doll: someone who is easily encouraged to stir the pot
  • Wreck: getting in trouble, getting caught

Prison Terminology Dictionary | Noah Bergland | construction2style

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