Ad Seg: Administrative Segregations. Placement in a controlled unit for the safety and security of the institution. Also called the “hole”.
All day: A life sentence as in “He’s doing all day…”
Badge: A guard, correctional officer
Banger: A knife. Also called a burner or a shank
Beef: A disciplinary charge, as to “catch a beef.”
Big House: Prison
Big Jab: Lethal injection. Also called the “needle”
Blanket Party: Throwing a blanket over a despised prisoner, so he or she can’t identify the attacker(s)
Blind: Area where correctional officers cannot see
Books: Offender trust account. Monies received by a prisoner is placed into an account and may be withdrawn for commissary purchases, special orders, and other expenses.
Boss: Would be a Correctional Officer overseeing a project or a certain area.
Box: Carton of cigarettes
Bull: Guard or Correctional Officer
Bunkie: Person with whom a prisoner shares a double bunk bed.
C-file: Critical information maintained on each offender.
Call: Time for specified event – e.g. mail call or sick call. May be known in some jurisdictions as a call out.
Cell Restriction: Disciplinary action
Cellie: Cell mate
Chain: Used when an offender is transferred to another unit/facility.
Close Custody: Offenders who have lost lines due to disciplinary actions can end up in Close Custody. Close Custody offenders are assorted by a Correctional Officers everywhere they go. They only go out to work (hoe squad) otherwise they are in their cells.
Committee: A group of Prison Officials who review an offenders actions to see if they can grant a line promotion or disciplinary action.
Commissary: Prison “store”
Commissary Restriction: Disciplinary action
Count: The institutional count of offenders, repeated at different times in the day/night. All movement stops while prison staff make sure no one is missing.
Death Row: Offender sentenced to die by lethal injection.
Date: Release date
Drop A Form: A prison form requesting information or giving information to certain department.
Fish: A new offender.
Fish Line: A line used to pull items for one cell to another.
Fog Line: When the fog is too thick for staff to keep a close watch, “fog line” will be called and prisoners will be restricted to their cells.
Free World: Outside
GP: General population
Good Time: Credits earned towards an offenders sentence.
Hard Time: Serving a sentence the difficult way.
Hit: A planned murder or stabbing.
Hoe Squad: Offenders who work the fields with a hoe and are supervised at all times by a Correctional Officer on horseback.
Hole: Solitary confinement, segregation, disciplinary detention cells.
Homeboy: Another offender form one’s hometown or neighborhood.
Hooch: Homemade alcohol.
Inside: Behind the walls
Jacket: Offender’s prison record
Jail: A county facility
Jailhouse Lawyer: A prisoner who assist others in filing legal actions.
Kite: Notes or letters. Any message passed to a prisoner.
Life Row: A term for women’s row.
Lifer: An offender serving a life sentence.
Lock down: An individual offender, a specific housing unit, or the entire prison may be locked down when there is a threat to security, count doesn’t clear or someone is missing.
Lock Up: Segregation unit, the adjustment center; disciplinary detention.
LWOP: Life without possibility of parole.
Mainline: Also called, “general population”
Make Paper: Make parole
Make Store: An offender is able to go to commissary.
Man Walking: A signal that a Guard or Correctional Officer is coming.
MTA: Medical technician
Old Timer: An offender who has done a lot of time.
Packing: An offender who carrying a weapon or drugs for sale.
PC: Protective Custody
PHU: Protective Housing Unit
PIA: Prison Industry Authority
Priors: Previous convictions
Seg: Segregation (isolated or disciplinary unit)
Shakedown: A search of a cell or work area.
Shank: Handmade weapon – generally a stabbing instrument.
Short-timer: Offender who will soon be released.
SHU: Security Housing Unit, Segregation (the hole)
Snitch: An informant. One who has given up names or activities.
Stinger: Appliance used to heat water.
Street: The outside world as in “on the street”.
Trustee: A position where an offender is allowed outside the gates without supervision.
Yard: The exercise area. In segregation, or death row the yard may be nothing more than a concrete “dog run” with no equipment.
Thank you to “Reaching the Heart of the Street Prison Ministry” for helping to provide many of the definitions.