What Are Some of the Slang Terms to Be Aware of While Behind Bars

By | February 1, 2016
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Over the years, slang has been used as communication while inside prison or jail, and prisoners are the ones who fully recognize and comprehend it. Some of these words have been altered and filtered down already, but still maintain their usage in American linguistics. So, what are some of the slang terms to be aware while behind bars?

Awareness to these slang words is one way of surviving in prison, because a prisoner is not being left behind about prison culture. Back in the olden times, slopping out was the term given to prison jargon. It was described as an official vocabulary of inmates, or people with vulgar or disreputable character. It was abolished in the Oxford Dictionary in the early 90s, but is still being used in Scotland up until today. But no matter what you call it, it’s really no secret that inmates do have their own language—and it’s best that you know about it.
Even if it’s probably the most unlikely of circumstances, being in prison means that you do have to adapt to the culture inside. Otherwise, you would feel left out, and that really would not do anything good for your ego—or for your stay in the facility. To make every day easier, you do have to know how people talk inside so that you’d fit right in, and you would not be bullied. Prison slang and gang slang may be offensive to some so they must be very careful in using it. Some of the slang terms to be aware while behind bars are:

All Day and a Night – Life sentence without the possibility of parole

All Day – Life Sentence (When asked how long an inmate would be staying, he could say “I’m doing all day”)

Back Door Parole – means to die in prison

Bats or Blow – means tobacco or cigarettes

Bucky or Celly – a cellmate/ inmate

Bug Juice – depressant/intoxicant drugs (this is something that wardens have to be aware of)

Beef – A criminal charge (this doesn’t have anything to do with food at all)

Bum Beef – A false accusation or charge that’s mostly used by inmates who believe they have just been framed, and that they actually should not be in prison

Brake Fluid – the psychiatric needs of an inmate (i.e., he needs some brake fluid, etc.)

Buck Rogers Time – this is the term given to a release date or parole that seems too far from now that makes it so hard to imagine

Bullet – a one-year sentence

Catch A Ride – this is a request that some inmates make to their co-inmates to help them get high, provided that their co-inmate has some illegal drugs with them

Chin Check – this is the act of punching or provoking another inmate just to see if he would actually fight back

Hole in the Wall – a cell

Dime – 10-year sentence

Diesel Therapy – a lengthy trip to another facility; this usually happens when an inmate has been in trouble with another inmate, or if he really has boisterous, troublesome personality and he serves as a threat to other inmates, and even police officers

Doing the Dutch – an inmate who is about to commit suicide; sometimes, this is also known as the Dutch Act

Fish – a new inmate who is never been in prison before

Fire on the line – this is a warning to other inmates, informing them that a police officer is in the area

Grapes – information or gossip (taken from the word “grapevine”)

Ghetto Penthouse – this is the term given to the topmost cell of one prison block

Hot One – a murder charge

Hold your mud – this term describes threats made by other inmates to their co-inmates, preventing them to blurt something out to officers, even if their lives are being threatened or if they’re in danger

Heat Wave – this happens when some attention is given to a certain group of inmates because of their actions—and it may not necessarily be good

June Bug – a prisoner who is considered to be a slave to others

Jacket – this is the information file or rap sheet of an inmate, or could also stand for his reputation among other inmates

Kesue – means a knife

Keister – this means that an inmate is hiding something that’s deemed as contraband in his rectum

Lame Duck – an inmate who is alone in prison yard; easy to prey on

Life Jolt – a life sentence

Mud – a coffee

Monkey Mouth – this is the equivalent of a blabbermouth, or someone who just talks about nothing important at all

Nickle – a five-year sentence

Programmer – an inmate who improves himself by attending classes

Pumpkins – new inmates

Punk – a derogatory term used for transsexual or homosexual

S to Life – a basketball game without rules

Spider Monkey – someone doing hard time

Strapped – when an inmate is carrying a weapon

Stress Box – the payphone booths

Shot Caller – the captain of the prison gang

Torpedo – the faithful enforcer of the prison gang

Wham whams or Zoom zooms – are cookies and candies

Wolf Tickets – this is all about challenging others, or talking tough about them

Viking – if the inmate is a couch potato; a lazy-bone
What are some of the slang terms to be aware while behind bars? You finally know a few good examples. Still, some of the most important slang terms to be aware of while behind bars include the following:

The term “the rock” refers to Alcatraz, which is a notorious rocky island prison situated in San Francisco Bay. It is isolated from the outside and the current of the waters that is enveloping around it are cold, strong and hazardous. Prisoners will definitely find it hard to escape from this historical maximum-security penitentiary.

The Sing Sing Prison was derived from the name of a Native American Nation called Sint Sinck. It is also a maximum-security prison located in Ossining, New York. Prisoners often refer this prison as the term “the castle on the Hudson River” or simply “the Castle.” It has its history where prisoners, both men and women, were executed by electric chair.

The word “the farm” refers to a prison farm dotted with barbed-wire enclosures, the Louisiana State Penitentiary, which is located in Angola, United States. The prisoners were like slaves because they were forced to work tirelessly all day while not being fed regularly.

Culture has an impact on different words which developed over the years. No wonder there are so many slang or prison words. Prisoners have nothing to do but adopt the prison culture, or else some of their inmates will take advantage of their weaknesses. What are some of the slang terms to be aware while behind bars? Remember that these are only a few examples. There are many more to learn, especially when it comes to ensuring survival.

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