Prison Slang Dictionary

posted in: Prison Experiences | 0

I created this prison dictionary by interviewing fellow prisoners who were staying at the Atlanta Transitional Center. The prisoners who contributed were actually those that I taught in my GED (General Educational Development) class. It was originally supposed to be included at the back of Retribution: Serendipity, but was cut to shorten the book. Some of these are Atlanta-specific. Here it is in full, but be warned: Some of these slang terms are rather obscene and graphic.

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100: A phrase said when one agrees with something

95: An inmate (1095 is the code used by the DOC to describe inmates, usually on a two-way radio)


Baby mama: The mother of an inmate’s child (usually not married to the inmate)

Band: Nickname for a $1000 bill (See: Stack)

Blast: When something is said aloud for all to hear (ex. “Being put on blast”)

Blue steel: A paper wrapper from a roll of toilet paper, used to roll a cigarette

Bo-bo: Black tennis shoes issued to inmates upon release

Bomb: A certain amount of an item (ex. a”bomb of coffee”)

Bombay: An elaborate drink concoction made by inmates, mimics an alcoholic drink

Buck: Homemade liquor

Buck: To refuse to follow an order or call-out

Bulb: An inmate-made device that allows one to boil water. (See also: Water-bug)


Call-out: When inmate is pre-ordered to be at an appointment (Medical appointment, counselor, etc.)

Car-cam: A digital camera mounted on a car to record events (Usually 360 degrees)

Catch-out: To do something to get into trouble (See also: P.C.)

CERT Team: A SWAT-like team used for disciplinary and emergency situations in prison

Chow: The contents of a prison meal

Chow hall: The central space used for serving meals (can also be an activity space)

Count: To be accounted for (Every two to three hours, all inmates within a prison must be counted)

Count-time: The time when a prison stops all inmate movement to count

Covered wagon: To hang sheets around a bunk in order to hide homosexual activities

Crop-dust: To walk by one or more inmates and fart


Day-room: The public space in a dorm for inmates to sit and watch TV

DOC: Department of Corrections

Dorm: Inmate living environment (Usually includes cells and a day-room)

Down the road: Georgia’s Diagnostic Prison. Used because it is south of/”down the road from” Atlanta

Do-wop: To attempt to obtain an additional serving of food during chow-call

Dry snitch: An inmate who reports someone to authorities while the person they are reporting is within earshot

Duck: A loser/undesirable person


Fe-Fe: An artificial vagina used for masturbation

Finger: A portion of an item (like coffee) placed in the finger of a rubber glove for transport

Fish: To pull items from one cell or dorm to another with a string or rope

Five-0: (aka 50) An officer. Comes from the tv show Hawaii Five-0. (See also: “In here”, Twelve)

Flop: A a cell phone (See also: Line)


Gay for the stay: Used to describe a man who participates in homosexual activities while in prison, despite being heterosexual outside of prison

GDC: the Georgia Department of Corrections

GED: (General Education Degree) An alternative to a High School Diploma

Ghetto Smurf: A female staff member wearing an excessive amount of makeup and/or hair products


Homey/Homeboy: A friend

Hustle: A method of making extra income while in prison


“In here”: A phrase yelled when an officer enters a dorm to alert others to their presence (See also: Five-0, Twelve)

Intake: The area where inmates initially are processed upon arrival to a prison


Jeff: To talk or socialize with an officer

J: A junkie


Line: A cell phone (See also: Flop)

Lockdown: A state in which a dorm or an entire prison is secured from all inmate movement


Mark: The target of an attack or assault

Max-out: The actual date that one’s sentence ends. One cannot be held beyond this date


Old School: Nickname for an inmate over the age of 40

Old Sparky: Nickname for the Georgia electric chair

OMS: (aka Offender Movement Schedule) One’s recurring work and class schedule


P.C.: (aka Protective Custody) The state of being separated from the rest of the population for safety. (See also: Catch-out)

Pack-out: A prepared meal, usually made for lunch. typically consists of sandwiches

Pat-down: To be checked for contraband (See also: Shakedown)

PED: (Parole Eligibility Date) Date when an inmate is reviewed for a TPM (Typically 1/3 of time)

Pocket: A meal created using a pre-packaged soup and additional ingredients

Po-lice: A person who is affiliated with officers. Derogatory

Popper: Device made to create fire, usually to light cigarettes (See also: Stinger)

“Put some water on it”: To repeatedly flush a toilet while using it to avoid smell (a courtesy to others)


Queen dike: (aka bitch) The dominant female inmate in a dorm


Rottweiler: Meat used for sandwiches


Seaport: An inmate from the Savannah, Georgia area

Shakedown: An event in which an inmate or their environment is checked for contraband. (See also: Pat-down)

Shank: A homemade knife used for self-protection or assault, often poorly made

Shoot the one: To get into a fight or major disagreement

Spork: A spoon/fork combo. Often the only utensil available for eating meals

Square: Someone who is not well-versed in prison life/culture

Squirrel: To hide something

Stack: A $1000 bill (See also: Band)

Stinger: An inmate-made device that allows one to create fire, usually used to light cigarettes. (See also: Popper)

Store: A place where inmates can buy supplies and food

Strap-up: To put one’s boots on to prepare for a fist fight

Stripes: Georgia prison uniforms, nicknamed for having a single blue stripe

Suitcase: To shove contraband up one’s anal passage or vagina for transport

Supercop: An annoyingly assertive officer who follows rules to the letter


TABE Test: An educational exam used to determine an inmate’s academic standing

Tat: Prison tattoo

The hole: A place where inmates are isolated (usually as a punishment or for protection)

To the door: To do an entire prison sentence with no parole

TPM: (aka tentative parole month) The approximate date given by parole for release

Twelve: An officer. (Comes from the TV show Adam-12). (See also: Five-0, “In here”)


Up the river: A prison in New York state, above New York City


Wam wam: Goods purchased at the prison store. (See also: Zoom zoom)

Water-bug: An inmate-made device that allows one to boil water. (See also: Bulb)

Whip: A car driven by officers

White boy: A cigarette rolled by an inmate


Yard: A large, secure, outdoor space for inmate recreation

Yard call: An event in which inmates can partake in outdoor recreation

“You feel me?”: A phrase said by someone asking if one understands what has been said


Zoom zoom: Goods bought at the prison store (often desserts). (See also: Wam wam)

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