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Learn the Lingo

Prison Slang

Big homie:

n. A person with rank or status in a group; a personal mentor in prison.


Building channel:

n. The inmate in a building or unit who is in charge of all that happens in that unit.



abbr. Correctional Officer; a prison guard charged with watching over inmates.


Cat nap:

n. A quick nap, usually while cell doors are locked.


Check in:

v. To ask a CO to be placed in SHU to avoid violent reprisals for being hot or having other issues with inmates.



n. A child molester; also used to describe inmates with sexual offenses other than rape.



n. An inmate who is not affiliated with a group or gang.



adj. Being cooperative with the government in exchange for privileges or a lesser sentence.



n. Police or correctional officers.


Keep point:

v. To look out for COs while another inmate needs privacy, such as while making a shank or getting a tattoo.  



v. To hide contraband in one’s rectum.



n. A message, usually written on a small piece of paper.


Let me holler at you:

idiom. Phrase spoken by one inmate to another whose advice he is seeking, or with whom he has a problem to address.



n. A structured group that works out together.



n. The general population housing area of a prison.


Move on:

v. To get whacked, with or without weapons.

Ex. Chris got moved on when word got out that he’s a chomo.



abbr. New arrival; new inmate in a prison.



n. An inmate’s personal knife.

Ex. I got my piece on me.


Play the ticket:

v. To play a sports ticket; to gamble in prison.


Post up:

v. To watch out or stand guard, often while strapped, for an inmate while he is exposed or vulnerable.

Ex. Big V posted up for me while I took a shower.



n. Alcohol made by inmates, using fermented fruit and sugar.


Put in work:  

v. To do anything necessary for a group, including fighting with or without weapons.

Ex. I had to put in work when I was at the USP.



n. A representative for a group.

Ex. The rep for the South Siders was a dope fiend.


The SHU:

abbr. Segregated Housing Unit; area of a prison reserved for inmates with disciplinary infractions or security issues; also known as the Hole.



n. A homemade knife.



adj. A person one can rely and depend on, no matter what.



n. A makeshift meal put together with various ingredients for a group of inmates.


Squad leader:

n. In more structured groups, inmates who are in charge of members for purposes of working out or security.



adj. Armed, especially with a shank.

Ex. I’m strapped up right now, so don’t trip.


Suited and booted:

adj. Dressed and ready for battle.


Take a lap:

v. To take a walk around the yard with an inmate of status to discuss one’s issues or mistakes.



v. To severely wound or kill another inmate of one’s own race or group, usually with weapons.



n. A severe beating.



n. Spanish slang for a message, usually issuing orders and written on a small piece of paper.


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