Excerpts from

GLOSSARY

all day
a life sentence. "Who's that ugly cunt there?" -- "That's Becker, a judge. She's doin' all day for killing a slimebag divorce shyster."

attitude
the display of annoyance, hostility, contempt, courage, or an unbroken spirit toward the insecure, authoritarian prison staff and questioning their actions -- all severely disapproved of and punished. "Clinton, you got an attitude. You're gonna go in the fuckin' hole!"
 
blanket party
throwing a blanket over a despised prisoner, so that she can't identify her attackers, then beating or stabbing her.
 
bunk, to
to share a double-decker bed with another prisoner. "Hillary, who are you bunking with?"
 
bunkie
the prisoner with whom you share a bunkbed. "My bunkie snores like a motherfucker."
 
"Burn rubber!"
A common exclamation meaning "Get lost!", "Leave me alone!", "Fuck off!" From the image of a car taking off rapidly with smoking tires.
 
cadillac
1: the best of the best - 2: Camel and Marlboro cigarets, which cost about twice as much as the cheapest generic cigarets that most prisoners smoke. "Say, LaKisha, got a cadillac for me?" - 3: a small metal box with handle into which cigaret butts and other rubbish are swept. "Hey, you, Clinton, get yourself a cadillac and sweep up them butts."
 
Hawk, Kathleen
the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. This prim lady has power beyond imagination. Whenever she announces a visit to a prison, the warden or prison camp administrator is scared shitless. These frightened chaps spend a fortune to have their prisons or camps spiffied up, blowing tens of thousands of tax dollars to sandblast, paint and polish anything that can be sandblasted, painted and polished. Prisoners are forced to work overtime putting in new lawns, cleaning curtains, scraping the inside of the kitchen ovens, and planting trees and flowers to make the wardens' warehouses look pretty for the great lady's visit. Of course, Madame Hawk just swoops through selected areas, with all prisoners safely out of the way, then is off to a fancy banquet that is attendended by servile self-seekers and financed by the taxpayers. With such power over scared wardens, you can imagine what Hawk can do for you. She won't be able to get you out, but she can make your stay quite pleasant.
 
hole
a punishment or disciplinary segregation cell without privileges for prisoners who have violated some regulation. It can range from a filthy, horrible, cold, windowless, and inhumane cell without even a blanket to one acceptable for housing human beings.
 
jail
a place for the confinement of drunks and common riffraff. This word is frequently used indiscriminately for prison, which is a place for tough and elite convicts. The Feds have no jails, only prisons.
 
jailhouse lawyers
every jail and prison has this kind of legal helper. Some are real lawyers serving sentences for drug or white-collar crimes, but many are self-taught experts who actually know more about criminal law, appeals, and anything from pretrial to post-conviction relief than most $500-an-hour defense attorneys.
 
Reno, Janet
Attorney General and Head of the brutal U.S. Department of Injustice. Not having a spouse or child, this tough-on-crime Thing-without-a-Thing has no pity on the spouses and children of prisoners. But she'll make sure that you will get special perks while you're in the slammer. After all, your liberals-pleasing husband appointed this horrible, heartless, affirmative-action quasi-woman as his capo di tutti capi of the Federal Mafia.
 
"You'll be back!"
The cheerful farewell you will hear from your friends as you are walking to the car or van that takes you to the bus station or home.
 
"You're in prison now."
The standard laconic reply to your complaints about dirty or nasty fellow prisoners, pain-in-the-ass hacks, crappy food, crowded and unsanitary conditions, and other annoyances of prison life.


  • For more state and federal prison slang, drug-related slang, slang from juvenile facilities, British prison slang, Mobspeak, and other prison-related information see Attorney Erickson's Prisoner's Dictionary and Reading List.
  • Also highly recommended: PrisonZone featuring prison photos, prison art, many links to other prison-related websites, as well as "Plea Circus," an excellent guide to the rules of criminal procedure relating to plea agreements and revealing all the dirty little secrets that judges, prosecutors and defense lawyers ("Public Pretenders") don't want you to know.