Can you translate this?  

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 Fish who’s obsessed with a Kitty-Kitty. And me.”

Translation at the end of Glossary!


Prison Slang Glossary

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!

“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 for comparison:

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 Fish who’s obsessed with a Kitty-Kitty. And me.”


Note: 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.