Prison has its own language. To help you better understand, I’ve put together this glossary of prison terms.
5-0 (pronounced “five-oh”) – slang. a C/O, corrections officer
Binky – (n.) homemade prison syringe
Bitch – (n.) A derogatory word used to degrade or belittle someone. The meaning varies depending on the context in which its used. This word is more of a fighting word…meaning, if someone is called a “bitch” they’re usually fighting within seconds.
Call Out – (n.) A daily bulletin posted for all inmates to see. This bulletin consist of the time and place in which inmates are to report. (ie. work, school, medical, property room, religious activities, etc.)
Cat call – (v.) inmate heckling, usually of either a C/O or undesirable inmates
Cell In – (v.) A term used as a directive by staff when telling inmates to go in their cell. “CELL IN NOW MISTER!!!”
Cell time – (n.) time alone in your cell
Celly – (n.) someone who shares the cell; a roommate
Chain – (n.) a group of inmates chained together for transport who arrive at a prison
Check in – (v.) to volunteer to be secluded into Protective Custody
Chi Mo – (abbrev.) slang. child molester
C/O – (abbrev.) Corrections Officer, also “cop” or “pig”
Count – (v.) A time when the facility counts the inmates. Everyone has to “cell in” for count.
CUS – (abbrev.) Custody Unit Supervisor. A high ranking official in charge of living units. (Lieutenant status)
Day Room – (n.) A huge living room where games and socializing takes place. SCCC day rooms consist of 26 tables, 104 seats, a microwave, 8 phones, ice machine, hot water dispenser (180°), and its where the “Call outs” are posted.
Dry cell – (n.) prison cell with no sink or toilet inside the cell
Dry snitch – (v.) snitching without directly snitching; drawing attention to the infraction in a roundabout way
Duck – (n.) a new inmate off the chain; many “waddle” from keistering contraband
Fellas – (n.) a group of solid guys who all get along and respect each other
Hole – (n.) short-term segregation (normally 30-60 days or less)
House – (n.) one’s prison cell
IMU – (n. abbrev.) Intensive Management Unit, long-term segregation
Indigent – An inmate who has less than $10 on his books for 30 days or longer is considered to be “indigent.” Indigent inmates can purchase indigent items as they rack up an indigent debt. NOTE: Indigent items are generic, no name brand items.
Ish – (abbrev.) slang. issue
Keep point – (v.) to watch or be on the lookout for a guard; military lingo
Keister – (v.) to hide something inside your rectum
Kite – (n.) document with an inmate request or question to a staff member; snitches may “drop a kite” to snitch in writing
Lame – (n.) someone who is not a “fella” but also is not a sex offender or a rat
Mainline – (n.) general population, also mealtime or dining hall
Mean Mugging – (v.) to look at someone with an angry expression on your face
One time – (n.) a guard
Paperwork – (n.) a statement of ones criminal history
PC – (abbrev.) Protective Custody
Piece of Shit – (n.) someone who isn’t solid; lowest in the prison hierarchy
Porter – (n.) one hired to do routine cleaning
Pruno – (n.) prison wine, made from decaying oranges, apples, potatoes, etc.
Punk – (n.) someone who performs sexual acts for little or no profit
Rape-o – (n.) slang. A rapist
Re-cop – (v.) replenish the drug supply
Running Store – (v.) to front items from commissary for a profit
Segregation – (n.) 24/7 lockdown
Shakedown – (v.) A thorough search of mass proportion
Shank – (n.) homemade weapon used for stabbing
Shotcallers – (n.) anyone who wields power and influence in prison. Usually the drug dealers, but can be anyone with a service in demand and a lot of charisma
Solid – (adj.) used to describe someone who isn’t a piece of shit
SO – (abbrev.) sex offender
SOS – (abbrev.) slang. Smash on Site
Street to Street – (v.) one inmate’s family or friends sending money to another inmate’s family or friends with no direct inmate involvement
Swine – (n.) pejorative term for prison guard; like calling a policeman a “pig”
Torpedo – (n.) someone hired or assigned to carry out an assault
UA – (n.) urine analysis. A piss test.
Wet cell – (n.) prison cell with a stainless steel sink and toilet inside the cell
Weirdo – (n.) a rat, a sex offender, or someone with some kind of dirty history
Yahoo – (n.) someone who is always running their mouth about others
Yard – (n.) An outdoor recreational area