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 Monies received by a prisoner is placed into an account and may be withdrawn for commissary purchases, special orders, and other expenses.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.

Ink: Tattoos

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.

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