ABORIGINE: (n) [sometimes derog.] A Native American.

AGENT: (n) A snitch, usually on a specific mission from staff.

[“Look out talking about the mota, you got Agent **** behind you.”]

ANKLE-GRABBER: (n) A homosexual “bottom”.

[“No one was surprised when, for Ricky’s birthday, he disappeared for an hour with the ankle-grabber down the hall.”]

APARTMENT: (n) Cell, specifically one in a tiered cellblock.

[“I hate having a top-floor apartment.”]



BABY-STOMPERS: (n) Shower-shoes. (see SHOWER-BABIES)

[“Damn, my baby-stompers got a tear, but I don’t dare touch the bottom to fix them.”]

BAM-BAM ROOM: (n) Suicide watch room in the Hole.

BAM-BAM SUIT, also BOOTY-SUIT: (n) Suicide-watch suit, made of reinforced nylon with velcro-closing arm and neck holes, or made of paper.

[“I OD’d on some dope one time and they put me in a bam-bam suit for a month…”]

BANGER: (n) A prison knife/shank.

BASE: (n) The central area of the prison “housing unit”/cellblock.

[Officer: “Everyone quiet down on the Base or I’m closing it down.”]

BEEF GOO: (n) The beef stew served in the chow hall.

[“Damn. Got that beef goo for chow.”]

BEET-JUICE: (n) Prison wine made from beets.

BEND-AND-SPREAD: (n) A prison strip-search.

[“After a visit, you gotta do a Bend-and-Spread, and C/O *** acts like he’s trying to see light at the other end of the tunnel.”]

BIRD: (n) Large, usually 7 oz, bag of tobacco [extremely common before 2009, when Michigan prisons banned tobacco]

[“Johnny smokes a bird a week!”]

BISCUITS: (n) State-issued “Oxford”-style shoes.

[“Get your biscuits on and go to the control center.”]

BLASE-SPLEE: (n) [“blah-seh splee”] Basically, “that one guy”; or “some guy”.

[“Blase-splee is sayin’ that shit is going to be good.”]

BLAST OFF: (v) To get extremely high off heroin.

[“Bro, I just got $50 from my grandma. Let’s go blast off!”]

BLOOPING: (v) to insert or smuggle inside one’s anal cavity.

[“The leading record for the prison is Twon X blooping half-a-pound of weed.”]

BLUES (PRISON BLUES): (n) prison uniform in Michigan (Michigan’s prison uniforms are either blue with orange striping, or solid blue).

[“Get your blues on and report to the Control Center.”]

BOILING [someone]: (v) [to “boil” someone] To throw boiling water or boiling oil on another person, generally in that person’s face (sometimes inmates will crush a lightbulb and add it to the boiling mixture before throwing it on the person’s face).

BONECRUSHER: (n) A large prison knife/shank.

BOY: (n) [see: Buttboy, Fuckboy] A homosexual “bottom”. (BOYS have a MAN they belong to.)

[“Damn Steve, I see you got yourself a boy now.”]

BRICK: (n) A ramen noodle [because it is square and stackable].

[“I’ll give you a brick for your chocolate chip cookie at chow.”]

BROWN: (n) Heroin.

BUCK-50: (verb, or noun) 1) To run up and slash someone’s face with a razor or shank, for the purpose of making a statement or to ensure that the officers see them wounded and put them in protective custody in order to “get them off the yard”; 2) The state of having a facial wound from this.

[“Did you hear that E got Buck-50’d yesterday?”]

BUCK: (v) Fight. There’s an old prison adage that you only have three options in prison: “Buck, Fuck, or Lock-Up [protective custody]”. 

BUG: (n) A crazy/odd/eccentric person, inmate or otherwise.

[“Bro, my bunkie is a straight-up bug.”]

BUGGING OUT: (n) Doing something drastically crazy.

[“Did you hear Puff last night bugging out and screaming at the top of his lungs?”]

BUNK: (n) Prison bed, regardless of whether it is a bunkbed.

BUNKIE: (n) Michigan’s term for cellmate.

BURN-‘EM-UP: (n) a powder-based deodorant (named for the fact that many are mildly allergic and their armpits will burn after use)

BURNER: (n) A prison knife/shank.

BUS-THERAPY: (n) Formerly-common way for the prison system to punish inmates by constantly transferring them from prison to prison, often with only a few days or a week stay before being transferred to another.

[“Gary filed a lawsuit against the Warden and now they have him on Bus-Therapy. He’s been to five prisons in the last month!”]

BUSHWHACKER: (n) A guy who likes high-school aged girls.

[“Dude, you’re 50. You looking at Miley Cyrus like that puts you on the verge of being a bushwhacker.”

BUTTBOY: (n) A homosexual “bottom”, usually used to mean more of a prostitute than just the term, “BOY”



CADILLAC-BUNK: (n) A single-man cell in general population, usually reserved for those with disabilities, or a two-man cell temporarily without a second person.

CAN-LID: (n) A shank made from meticulously folding a large can lid to make a point. One of the most common forms of shanks.

[“Brandon pissed off some Bloods and got hit with a can-lid to the eye while asleep in his cube.”]

CAR-WASH: (n) 1) A shower; 2) masturbating.

[“Dom’s got a sheet over his window and taking it to the car-wash.”]

CATHEAD: (n) A meatball/”salisbury” patty served in the chowhall.

[“What they got for chow tonight?” “Cathead.” “Damn.”]

CAVE-DIVING: (v) A body cavity search.

[“After the video camera evidence from the visiting room, they got a warrant and had the doctor go cave-diving on ol’ Jimmy.”]

CELL-GANGSTER: (n) Someone who talks tough when they’re in their cell but backs down quickly in a face-to-face confrontation.

[“Tone talks good when the doors are shut, but he’s a bitch-ass cell-gangster.”]

CHANGE: (n) Cheaper commissary items like ramen noodles or soaps.

[An item is being sold for $3. A bag of instant coffee costs $3.70, and ramen noodles are $0.35. “Hey, you got two ramen as change?”]

CHEVY: (n) A tape player.

[“Let me borrow your chevy for the night.”]

CHOW: (n) Prison served food.

CHOW-HALL: (n) The dining room.

CHO-MO: (n) A child molester.

CLICK-CLACK [or a “CLICK”]: (n) A gel deodorant (named for the clicking sound made when dispenser is twisted).

[“Give me two clicks and a flatboy for this Playboy.”]

COFFEE-SHOT: (n) A single serving of coffee sold by someone trying to earn some extra money.

[Lamar’s hustle was to sell coffee-shots and (greeting) cards.]

COOKING [a bunkie]: (v) To masturbate while your bunkie is in the cell, usually asleep.

[“Roy was cooking his bunkie and got caught, and is now in the hospital.”]

COOKUP: (noun, or verb) [occasionally called a “whip-up”] 1) Essentially a casserole made from commissary items, almost always containing ramen noodles, cheese, chopped summer-sausage, and beans/chili. 2) To cookup: to make one of these casseroles.

COPS, C/Os: (n) Correctional Officers.

COP, TAKING A: (v) Backing down from an altercation.

[“Brig always acts so tough, but I saw him take a cop from JB.”]

CROSSING THE BRIDGE: (v) Being sent to a prison in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (which is at least 4 hours away from where the majority of inmates are originally from).

[“Kevin better watch out talking to the C/O like that before they have him crossing the bridge.”]

CROTCHING: (v) Smuggling in one’s whitey-tighty briefs underwear.

CSC: (n) Someone with a Criminal Sexual Conduct charge, usually a child molester.

[“Jones said he was in here for murder, but I had him looked up and he’s a freakin’ CSC!”]

CUBE: (n) A dormitory-style prison setting, with bunks in an open-air cubicle setting.

[“Paco got caught with a tattoo gun because the cop saw him walking out of someone else’s cube.”]

CUBIE: (n) Another person in your cube.

[“Red was one of my cubies when I was at St. Louis prison.”]



D, The: (n) Detroit.

[“Hey, you from Grand Rapids or The D?”]

DEATHCARE: (n) Healthcare (medical unit).

DEUCIN’ IT: (v) To take a number-two in the bathroom.

DICKBEATERS: (n) Hands/fists.

[“If you touch me with your dickbeaters again, you had better put them up to scrap.”]


[“Quit running your dicksuckers and spot me on this weight.”]

DIAPER-MITE: (n) A child molester/pedophile [probably named after a common parody of the AC-DC song “TNT” that was made up by Michigan prisoners: “Because they’re CSC… they’re diaper-mites. CSC… kids won’t put up a fight.”]

DOCTOR-FINGER: (n) A doctor that works in prison (named because prostate exams are one of the few medical procedures done at the prison directly by the doctors)

[Attn: Reader, true story: “I went into healthcare and was being seen by a nurse and seriously overheard the doctor tell a 17 year old that he should kite to get his prostate checked.”]

DOCTOR-JACK: (n) A doctor that works in prison (named after one of Michigan’s most infamous inmates, Dr. Jack Kevorkian).

[“Doug fell out with a ruptured appendix and Doctor-Jack said he was faking.”]

DOGFOOD: (n) Heroin.

DOPE: (n) Heroin [specifically].

DRESSING-OUT: (v) To throw urine and feces on, usually through a tray-slot in the door while in the Hole.

[“Man, when I was in the Hole, Smith got dressed out, they pepper-sprayed Gonzo for it, and my nose still hasn’t recovered from the combination.”]

DRILL: (n) A tattoo device.

DRILLER: (n) A tattoo artist.

[“Jeremy is the best driller in the prison right now.”]

DRY-SNITCHING: (v) To tell on someone purposely but in an off-handed way (i.e. you are in a confrontation, and you wait until an officer comes around to say very loudly, “Did you just threaten me?!”).

DUCKS: (n) Common derogatory term for black inmates used by white inmates.



EIGHT-HUNDRED NUMBER [800 NUMBER], The: (n) Mythological direct-line to the warden able to be called from the inmate telephones to snitch (saying someone’s “calling the 800-Number” is calling them a snitch).

[“Bitch-ass Dave ran his mouth, got slapped, and now look at him calling the 800-number…”]



FALL-OUT: (v) Falling to the ground and calling out for medical attention, either for actual medical attention or as a distraction or for attention.

[“Everytime Clyde falls out, they up his muscle-relaxer prescription.”]

FEE-FEE: (n) An artificial vagina, masterbation device, usually made with latex gloves in a rolled up sock or filled with water and tied together and lubricated.

[“The C/O was passing out mail and caught Dave fucking a fee-fee. And now Dave has a sexual misconduct.”]

FEEDING THE WARDEN [or the GOVERNOR]: (v) Taking a bowel-movement in the facility’s toilets.

[“I’ll be back in a few minutes. Gotta go feed the warden.”]

FLATBOY: (n) A ramen noodle (named because they are square and flat).

[“Give me four flatboys and this magazine is yours.”]

FLICKING UP: (v) To take a picture.

[“See these old pics? Before 2008 you could flick up with all your homies in here.”]

FOO-FOO: (n) An anal-dildo, made and used by homosexual inmates.

[ATTN: Reader, true story. A prison sissy nicknamed Hot-Pockets got called over for a patdown by an officer and ran away. As Hot-Pockets did, a large cucumber stolen from the garden and covered tight with a latex glove fell out of his pants. This was a foo-foo.]

FOUR-LEGGED SHOWERBEAST: (n) A homosexual union in the show.

[“Damn man, don’t go near the showers. Ol’ Scrapiron’s got a four-legged showerbeast going on with some boy.”]

FREAKBOOK: (n) A porn magazine (pre-2000, the system allowed porn magazines to be purchased. Some circulate, some are occasionally smuggled in).

[“Larry paid HOW MUCH for that freakbook? It must’ve been good…”]

FREAKS: (n) Shortened name for a FREAKBOOK.

FREEWORLD: (n) The world outside prison.

[“I have people in the freeworld who can look that up for a price.”]

FUCK-BOY: (n) [see BOY, BUTTBOY] A homosexual “bottom”, often a male inmate prostitute.



“GET THAT”: (phrase) A challenge, one of the ultimate prison challenges to someone’s respect, usually given upon refusal to pay what is owed or to give back something taken/borrowed. Often followed by calling someone a “bitch”. (Implies that even if the other person has a problem with you, that they are too much of a coward or weakling to do anything to you).

[“Oh, you want that bag of coffee back?! Get that, bitch!”]

GLADIATOR-SCHOOL: (n) A violent prison.

[“Muthafucka, you thought you could challenge me? I grew up at MR Gladiator-School!”]

GOLDMINE: (n) One’s ass.

[i.e. “If you run out of money, you can always sell your ass to a predator… you’re literally sitting on a goldmine!”]

GRAPE-SMUGGLERS: (n) Whitey-tighty men’s briefs underwear.

[“On his last day in prison, Dimebag-Dave stripped down to his grape-smugglers and ran around the unit.”]

GREY-GOOSE: (n) Prison transport bus (named for their grey paintjob).

[“When they closed down the prison at Mound Road, they rode-out 30 guys on a grey-goose at a time.”]

GROUND-WORK: (n) Calistetics (such as pushups, situps, planks, bear-crawls…) done without the need for workout equipment.

GUNNER: (n) One who masturbates while staring at (usually) female staff.

GUNNING DOWN: (v) To masturbate while looking at a (usually) female staff member.

[“Tommy got the nickname ‘Tommy Gun” not because he was tough but because he’s gotten caught eight times gunning down female officers.”]



HAG: (n) A nurse that works in a prison.

[“My arm was visibly broken and that hag told me to take some aspirin and sent me away.”

HEATER: (n) A prison knife/shank.

HOLDING [a] POCKET: (v) Act of submission to a sexual predator. Holding another man’s pocket signifies that you are their “possession”.

[“Ren always has a couple fuck-boys holding his pocket at whatever prison he goes to.”]

HOLE, The: (n) Segregation unit used for punishment.

[“What? You think I’m scared to go to the Hole? I’ve been to the Hole 18 times in my bit.”]

HOOTIE-HOO: (n) Correctional officers.

[“Watch out for the hootie-hoo.”]

HOMIE: (n) Prison friend (the term has a Spanish origin, but is used universally by everyone in prison regardless of race/ethnicity).

HOPPING-BOB: (n) A prison snitch.

HOPPING-BOBBERY: (v) The act of snitching.

HITTING-THE-FENCE: (v) Attempting escape.

[“Vega lost his family and was doing life, so he decided to hit the fence. He climbed back down when they pointed that shotgun at him though.”]



ICE: (v) 1) To stab someone (as with an icepick-like shank); 2) To murder someone (as to “lay them out on ice”).

[“Remember JT? He just got a life-sentence because he iced the guy who attacked his sister.”]

ICEBOX: (n) The Hole; Segregation unit.

[“I got in one little fight and they threw me in the icebox for a month.”]

ICEPICK: (n) a thin, usually round, prison shank.



JABAPS: (n) Derogatory term used by white and Latino inmates for black inmates [probably most common anti-black racial slur].

JALAPENO: (n) Derogatory term used by other races for Latino inmates.

JEFFIN’: (v) To snitch.

[“I just heard RJ jeffin’ to the police!”]

JUICE: (n) Spud-Juice, or prison-made wine. Costs $3-$5 for about 16-20 oz, with a strength about equivalent to real wine.

[“Happy birthday bro! I got you four bottles of juice!”]

JUICE-MAN: (n) Prison wine maker. Usually sells 20 oz in pop bottles or the equivalent in your cup for $3-$5.

[“There goes New Years… juice-man just got popped with a ten-gallon bag.”]



LADYFINGER: (n) A transgender inmate’s penis.

[“Some guys don’t consider themselves gay if they have sex with a prison sissy as long as they don’t touch the ladyfinger.”]

LAWNMOWERS: (n) Norelco beard trimmers, used for cutting hair (approved for purchase by the MDOC).

LEGAL-BEAGLE [or -EAGLE]: (n) An inmate who studies, or claims to study, the law and will help you with legal work, for a fee.

LIGHTER: (n) An improvised device used to create a glowing wire to light a cigarette or something similar, usually batteries with a wire connected to the positive and negative ends.

LOCK-IN-A-SOCK: (n) Most basic prison weapon, a padlock put in a sock (or otherwise attached to something that allows it to be swung) and swung to hit someone.

LOCKING (someone): (n) To hit in the head with a padlock swung in a sock or from a belt.

[“Jose got sent to Level V for locking LX.”]

LOCKING-UP: (v) Asking to go to protective custody.

[“Shawn talked shit to everyone and yet I just saw him locking up.”]

LOCK-UP ARTIST: (n) Someone who borrows from [usually many] other inmates and then goes to protective custody.

[“I just got word from my cousin at the Reformatory… don’t give Crews anything. He’s a lock-up artist.”]



MAD-DOGGING: (v) Getting aggressive and belligerent with someone else, usually out of nowhere, to intimidate them.

[“Mo-Mo always trying to mad-dog the new inmates thinking he’s gonna scare them into sex.”]

MAN, a: (n) Used to signify the dominant member of a homosexual relationship, often a sexual predator.

[“That boy rode in and instantly found himself a man.”]

MARQUETTING: (n) -Uniquely Michigan Term- Staring down another inmate to try to intimidate them (named after the maximum-security prison in Marquette, Michigan).

[“What the fuck you marquetting me for? You trying to fight?”]

MALANIKS: (n) Name applied to certain members of the Nation of Islam.

MASTERLOCK: (v) To hit someone with a lock-in-a-sock.

[“I’m about to go masterlock this muthafucka if he keeps running his mouth…”]

MEATSTICK: (n) Summer sausage (almost always weighing 5.5 oz) sold in prison commissary.

MED-RUN: (n) Transport in a prison van by transport officers to an outside medical facility, usually a hospital or medical specialist.

[“My bunkie went on a med-run and should be back tomorrow.”]

MELLOW: (n) Prison friend.

[“I can vouch for Dank. He’s been my mellow for 10 years.”]

MIMOSA: (n) Prison wine made from orange juice.

MOABITES: (n) Members of the Moorish Science Temple of America (MSTA).

MONE: (n) Suboxone strips.

[“You lookin’ for some of that Mone? Because I got some.”]

MONKEYBOATS: (n) Prison-issue “Oxford”-style shoes.

[“Dog, how’d you get your monkeyboats so shiny?”]

MOORS: (n) Members of the Moorish Science Temple of America (MSTA).

MOTA: (n) Marijuana (especially common among Latino inmates).

  1. GILMORE: (n) Correctional Officers.

[“Got in an argument with Terry and next thing I know he’s talking to Mr. Gilmore and pointing at me!”]

MURDER-ONE: (n) A completely bald haircut.

[Barber: “You want a trim, a fade, a flattop, or a murder-one?”]



NUTS-TO-BUTTS: (noun, or adverb) 1) A single-file line; 2) standing single-file.

[“It’s taking forever, standing nuts-to-butts in this overheated chow-hall food-line.”]



OCK: (n) Muslim inmate (usually used by other Muslim inmates).

[“Hey, do me a favor and grab Ock for me in Cell 28.”]

OFF-BRAND: (n) a correctional officer not usually stationed in a particular area, like a substitute officer as opposed to a substitute teacher (every officer has certain rules they may be extra strict on, and may have rules they’re lax on. An “off-brand” working means the usually negative feeling that you don’t know how they’re going to act).

[“Today’s not a good day to get tatted on, we got an off-brand at the desk.”]

ORIGINAL MAN: (n) Used as a greeting among some black Muslim inmates, referring to the origin of the human race being in Africa.

[“What up though, Original Man?”]

OUTFIT: (n) Streetclothes; regular clothes (One set is currently allowed to be purchased for court-appearances or to leave prison in. Pre-2016, regular clothes were allowed to be worn on visits as well.)



PACKING: (v) Keistering; hiding something in one’s anal cavity.

[“Be careful, A-X is packing a shank, so don’t let him get it out or hit him hard enough to make him bend over…”]

PACKAGE: (n) A smuggled bundle of drugs/miscellaneous.

PAPERWEED: (n) “K-2”, the active cannabinoids found in various products, usually sprayed on paper, which is then smoked to get high. Paperweed often causes temporary psychosis and inmates have climbed fences and stripped naked and ran through the prison screaming.

[Attn: Reader, true story: “Qwon smoked some paperweed and tried to climb the fence. When the C/Os tackled him, he started smacking his head into the ground yelling, ‘I’m a lion, I’M A LION!'”]

PAYING TAXES: (v) [see Feeding the Warden] Defecating in a prison toilet.

[“I’ll be there in a minute. I gotta go pay my taxes first.”]

PC: (n) Protective Custody (to go to protective custody, many prisons require you to fear for your safety and to tell them specifically whom you fear, requiring you to snitch).

[“Don’t trust G. He just got out of PC.”]

PEE-PEE PEEPER: (n) A homosexual predator.

[“Slim might seem like a decent old man, but I promise he’s a seasoned pee-pee peeper.”]

PINKIES: (n) Derogatory name for white inmates.

PIT, The: (n) The weight-pit, a usually open area with weights and exercise equipment, often covered only by a roof.

[“After chow, you wanna head to the pit?”]

PLOPPING: (v) 1) to use a pill as a suppository, to get high; 2) smuggling something in one’s rectum.

POCKET:  (n) a secret hiding place for smuggling contraband into prison. Yup. The anus, and in some cases, the vagina. 

POLLOS: (n) Derogatory name used by Latino inmates for white inmates (means “chicken”)

POODLES: (n) Derogatory name for white inmates.

POLTERGEIST STEW: (n) Poultry stew served in the prison chow hall.

POPPING a SOCKET: (v) To ignite usually a q-tip or piece of tissue using pencil lead and an electrical socket

(at least an inch of pencil lead is inserted carefully into each side of an electrical socket. A third piece, using something non-conductive to hold it, is used to touch both pieces, creating a spark which ignites a nearby q-tip or piece of tissue. Is this safe? Not at all. Does it work? Yes).

PREDATOR: (n) A homosexual predator, seeking to rape or sexually-press other inmates.

PRISON-DIME: (n) A young, “tender”, usually small and white, inmate considered to be a perfect “ten out of ten” (a dime) in homosexual attractiveness.

[“Junior, you’re lucky you had us looking out for you when you came in with your 18 year old prison-dime ass.”]

PROTECTION: (n) Extortion, usually “sold” as payments made to protect the victim from others.

[“VLs got that new guy paying protection already.”]

PUTTIN’-IN-WORK: (v) Fighting.

[“I walked by O’s and Dante’s room and they were puttin’ in work.”]



QUARANTINE: (n) Intake center in Jackson, Michigan.

[“I’ve had that pair of underwear since quarantine.” “Oh yeah, when did you come in?” “Seven years ago.”]

QUEEN: (n) A homosexual or effeminate inmate, often one proudly displaying femininity.

[“That queen’s got painted nails and kool-aid lipstick.”]

QUILLS: (n) Seroquil, an antipsychotic tranquilizer commonly prescribed to prisoners with mental disorders. Considered to give you a buzz.

[“A dollar for every hundred milligram quills.”]



RAINBOX: (n) Shower.

[“Dude, you seriously need to act like a flower and jump in the rainbox.”]

RAISING [or PUTTING UP] A SHEET: (v) Covering a cell door window with a sheet, usually for privacy to shave intimate areas or to masturbate.

[“That asshole borrowed a Playboy and instantly raised a sheet.”]

RAPPY: (n) Codefendant.

[“Jimbo put a hit out on his rappy for testifying against him and getting him life.”]

RAT: (n) A snitch. One of the worst things to be, or be called.

REAL CAUCASIAN: (n) Belief by some in the Moorish Science Temple of America that black people originated in the Caucasus mountains, and therefore are the true caucasians.

RENT: (n) Extortion money paid to stay in a certain cell. Usually pressed on ignorant new inmates.

[“You better be able to fight, run, or be willing to pay rent.”]

RIDE-OUT: (v) Getting transferred to another prison.

[Officer: “Pack your stuff. You got a ride-out tomorrow.”]

RIG: (n) A syringe (usually a dirty one that had been stolen from the diabetic insulin injection area).

RIVERBOAT: (n) Heroin.

ROAD-DOG: (n) Prison friend.

ROCK: (n) Prison unit, usually specifically the base area.

[Officer: “Attention on the rock…”]

RUNNER: (n) Someone paid to “run” food, other items, or gambling slips (skins) from one unit to another.

[“Poker-Dave does a ticket for every sport and has runners in every unit.”]

RUNNING a TABLE: (v) Managing (being the “House” of) a gambling table, usually poker. Very lucrative.



SCRAPPIN’: (v) Most common term for fighting.

SECOND-HAND SNITCH: (v) to tell on someone to a known snitch, who then passes the info on to staff.

SEG: (n) Segregation unit, The Hole.

[“Tommy gunned down Ms. Smith and now he’s in Seg.”]

SHANK: (n) Prison-made knife.

SHANK-BLANK: (n) Piece of metal, plexiglass, or other material a shank can be made of.

SHITTING McDONALDS: (adjective) Describes an inmate being fresh from the streets.

[“You don’t know anything about prison. You still shitting McDonalds.”]

SHOOTING A MOVE: (v) Going to protective custody after borrowing a bunch of money from multiple other inmates.

[“That bitch hit up five store guys and borrowed my trimmers and then shot his move.”]

SHOWER-BABIES: (n) Semen. Named for masturbating in the shower, and sperm being “babies”.

[“Never shower without shower-shoes or else you’ll get foot-herpes from the shower-babies.”]

SHOWER-STALKER: (n) A homosexual predator.

SHOWER-TRANSFER: (n) Homosexual sex in the shower, usually specifically to pay off a debt (Shower-Transfer, as opposed to a “money-transfer”).

[“I didn’t know Ken was like that until I saw him doing a shower-transfer with Big Al.”]

SKINS: (n) Gambling slips, usually for sports games. Also called “Gambling Tickets.”

[“You play NBA skins? I got a good ticket right here that pays out well if you win.”]

SKITTLES: (n) Pills, the kind that get you high.

SLIP-GAME: (n) Making derogatory remarks, usually homosexual ones, theoretically in a joking manner.

[Scene: Carl laughs and spits out some milk that runs down his face. “Carl, I like it when you let a little bit dribble out your mouth.”]

SLIPPING: (v) Making derogatory remarks, usually of a homosexual nature, theoretically done in a joking manner.

[“Carl, you’re such a good cook. You’re going to make some man so lucky to have you as a wife someday.”]

SIBERIA: (n) Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (named for being very cold most of the year, and for its distance from the main population centers of Michigan and the hometowns of inmates and their families).

[“The only reason I didn’t cuss out the Warden is that I don’t feel like getting sent to Siberia. My Grandma’s sick, you know?”]

SISSY: (n) Most common prison term for a homosexual “bottom”. Usually a sissy refers to an inmate who also purposely tries to create a feminine appearance. Often, but not always, transgender.

[“When that one sissy that looked a bit like Iggy Azalea came in, it showed where everyone’s mentality was at.”]

SMURFS: (n) Pills, the kind that get you high. (Often specifically to dentropan, a bladder-control medicine that is blue and which taking a dozen or two of will make you hallucinate).

SNITCH: (n) An inmate who tells on others. One of the worst labels to have.

SNOWFLAKE: (n) Derogatory name for white inmates.

SNOWTRAIN: (n) A prison transfer up North to Michigan’s upper peninsula.

[Che told Ms. *** to suck his dick, and now he’s riding the snowtrain.”]

SOOT: (n) Actual soot collected from burning tissue covered in vaseline under a surface, specifically used for making or darkening tattoo ink.

SOUP: (n) Ramen noodle.

SPARKING UP: (v) [see: Popping a Socket] The act of popping a socket to ignite a tissue or q-tip. Usually to light a joint or cigarette.

SPOON: (n) Measurement of marijuana. Originally meant how much could fit in a leveled-off tablespoon. Then a teaspoon. Now it is how much can fit in the cap of a Chapstick.

[“Spoon of weed cost him $25.”]

SPOON-SHAKER: (n) An inmate in the meal serving line who intentionally shorts a portion of food.

[“I oughta beat that spoon-shaker’s ass…”]

SPRITE: (n) Prison wine made from raw potatoes (named because it has the color and fizziness of Sprite).

SPUD-JUICE: (n) Prison-made wine, regardless of what it is made of. In Michigan, all prison wine is called Spud Juice. Also shortened to just “juice”.

SQUEEZING: (v) Pressuring, usually through force, to pay extortion.

[“The Bloods are really squeezing him.”]

SQUOZE, to be: (n) To be a victim of pressure to pay extortion.

[“The Bloods squoze me, but they’re going to have to kill me first.”]

STARBUCKS: (n) Pills, the kind that get you high (often dissolved in coffee). Often referred to as “going to Starbucks”.

STEPPIN’-IN-THE-BATHROOM: (v) Fighting. Most Michigan prisons have communal bathrooms, and most fights occur there. As a challenge to “step in the bathroom with me”, it’s the same as saying, “Let’s take this outside” in a bar.

[“You want your money? Step in the bathroom with me.”]

STEVE-McQUEENING IT: (v) To attempt an escape (named after the lead actor in “The Great Escape”)

STINGER: (n) An electrical cord, cut and stripped to expose the wires of one end, and placed in water to heat through electrolysis.

[“We were on lockdown for a week, so I had to use a stinger to heat my coffee.”]

STORE: (n) 1)An inmate store, where items are loaned out for 50% interest by next commissary day; 2) Commissary (delivery day for commissary is called “store-day”).

[“Mike didn’t have the money to buy the weed, so he went to a store to get it.”]

STORING-OUT: (v) to lend out at 50% interest until the next delivery of commissary.

STORE-MAN: (n) Prisoner who runs a inmate store.

STRIPS: (n) Suboxone strips. Very common drug in prison.

SUBS: (n) Suboxone strips. Sold as full-strips ($75-$90), halfs ($40-50), quarters ($25), eights ($15) , sixteenths ($10) , and sometimes even thirty-secondths ($5-$7.50).

SUITCASING: (n) Keistering, or concealing in one’s anal cavity.

SWORD: (n) A very large prison-made knife/shank.

[“Kurt was ready to fight Scott until Scott pulled out that sword.”]



TABBING: (v) Getting high by taking 50 or more allergy tablets (similar to Claritin).

[“B is going to rot his brain tabbing all the time.”]

TARD-WAGON: Shorter prison bus.

[“They did a small transfer of the gangbangers and got them all on a tard-wagon out of there.”]

TICKET-MAN: (n) Inmate who manages gambling tickets, or skins.

TIER: (n) Levels in a cell-block.

[“I hate locking on the upper-tier. It’s too loud and hot up there.”]

TREE-JUMPER: (n) A child molester/pedophile.

[“Had Joe looked up, and he’s a freakin’ tree-jumper.”]

TURD-CUTTER: (n) Your ass.

[“Sit your turd-cutter down and shut up.”]



UNCLE-CHARLIE: (n) Correctional Officers, or the prison administrators.

[with sarcasm: “Damn, Uncle Charlie sure feeding us nice today.”]

UNDER-THIRTEENER: (n) A child molester who targeted children under 13.

U-SKI: (n) A Behavior Modification Unit, more commonly called BMU (from which the U-SKI takes its name).

[“I had to do ten days in the Hole, and a month in the U-Ski… I would have rather been in the Hole the whole time!”]



VIEW, a: (n) A visit from family/friends.

[“Brandon, did you hear them call you for a view?”]



WALLS, THE: (n) The name for pre-1990s Jackson, Michigan prison, once the largest prison in the world. Named for it’s large brick walls (all other prisons in Michigan have chain-link fences covered in razor-wire).

[“You had to be always aware, being behind the walls,” said Frenchy.]

WAXING IT: (v) Masturbating.

WELLIES: (n) Wellbutrin, an antidepressant prescribed to inmates in psych units, that is snorted to get high.

[“Joe’s selling two 150mg wellies for a yellowbag.”]

WHAM-WHAMS: (n) Snack-food.

[“I think I’m gonna hit up the storeman for some wham-whams.”]

WHITEBOY: (n) Derogatory name for white inmates. Meant to emphasize the relation to the prison term “boy”, referring to a [usually cowardly] homosexual “bottom”.

WHITE-GIRLS: (n) White-iced honeybuns.

WICKING: (v) To remove most of the acrylic binder from acrylic paint to concentrate the pigment to make tattoo ink.

[“Damn, I don’t think Joe wicked the colors he used for my ink… it’s faded and itchy.”]

WITCHES: (n) Nurses that work in prison.

WRIT, a: (n) Being taken back to county jail for court-proceedings (as the order to appear is issued as a “writ”)

[“Where’s Biggs?” “He went on a writ.”]



X’s, the: (n) Members of the Nation of Islam (for the X that members place after their first name).



YARD-CARD: (n) Metaphorical “permission” from the other inmates as a whole to go out to the prison yard (almost always used to describe an inmate getting “his yard-card taken”, meaning he has reason to fear going out to the yard and makes the choice not to).

[“My bunkie’s always in the fucking room ever since he snitched and got his yard-card taken.”]

YAK, The: (n) Pontiac, Michigan. One of five of the most common hometowns for Michigan inmates.

YELLOWBAG: (n) A 3 ounce bag of instant coffee (named as it comes in a yellow bag).

[“Jimbo has a discount on spud-juice: yellowbag a piece as long as you buy more than one.”]

Y/O: (n) A “Youthful Offender”, the legal term for an otherwise chronological juvenile who is charged as an adult and sent to an adult prison, often as young as 12 or 13.

YONTAS: (n) Derogatory term used by Latino inmates for black inmates.



ZOOM-ZOOMS: (n) Snack food.

[“I’m starving for some zoom-zooms.”]


COMPILED, CURATED AND CREATED BY: Chris Dankovich and Jerry Metcalf, Thumb Correctional, Michigan

Is your next-door-neighbor a bushwhacker? That jerk down the street a cell-gangster? You fall on your goldmine lately? The doctor who refused to sign off on your disability a Doctor-Jack? When was the last time you had some poltergeist-stew? Like going to Starbucks? Hungry for some zoom-zooms or wham-whams?

Why does the world, or PrisonWriters, need a specifically Michigan prison-slang dictionary? Because we believe that Michigan prisons have in many ways evolved separately with a unique, and often much dumber and more ridiculous, culture. There’s universal aspects of prison culture across the US, but Michigan just doesn’t have that same draw on out-of-state criminals that bring lingo and concepts from New York, California, and Texas to us. Some of these words may be the same, but much of Michigan prison slang has evolved on its own. Part street-gangsta, part meth’d-out hillbilly, seeded in a state that 40 years ago had about 3 prisons and recently grew to 50, where inmates occasionally freeze to death during the winters and die of heatstroke during the summers, and which has statistically the longest sentences for similar crimes compared to the 49 other states. That Michigan-mitten isn’t waving to you if you’re a convict… it’s giving you the finger under it’s winter-glove. 

So no dry-snitching, watch out for the hootie-hoo, don’t let anyone marquette you or let yourself get squoze, and stay healthy so you don’t have to go to deathcare to see the hags or get spun around by a Doctor-Finger…

— Chris and Jerry