From time to time in my posts I may use terms unfamiliar to you. For you New Fish, I provide this amazing glossary for you.
GLOSSARY OF TERMS (last modified 9 February 2020)
BOOTY BANDIT—This is rather self explanatory don’t you think? Anyone. Who. Chases. Your. Booty (and I don’t mean your gold and silver either).
BREAK—Any prison made meal. Any Meal. Fo’real.
BUBBA—A generic term for anyone that sexually preys on other inmates. Sometimes, however, Bubba’s name really is Bubba, but don’t tell him I told you.
BUNKY—Your cellmate or cubemate who shares a bunk with you.
CELLY—One’s cellmate. Yeah, the dude you’re stuck with.
CHO-MO—Short for child molestor. In This World these guys are the ones preyed upon–how poetic.
CONVICT—A term denoting any individual that lives by the convict code.
CONVICT CODE—The unwritten rules of doing time. You’re wise to honor them.
DEFINITE SENTENCE—A sentence with a definite term and release date.
EYE HUSTLE—To stare at or otherwise show excessive interest in someone else’s property.
“FIVE-OH”—Term used to denote a guard or officer. This term originated on the West Coast during the 80’s to describe the PoPo and the 5.0 Mustangs that the CHP drove.
GRAPEVINE—The informal word of mouth shadow network hidden from staff. The Grapevine is both service provider and service taker. See my post First Time Grapevine.
GRIP (A)—A “grip” is a long sentence. “He’s pulling a grip,” or “He did a grip before being paroled.”
HAMSTER WHEEL—This is what I call the outside track on the recreation yard. It’s a quarter mile oval, and like hamsters, convicts go round and round and round all…day…long.
HUSTLE—Any skill or ability convicts draw upon to provide a service or product for monetary gain. A hustle is used to make ends meet. See my post Prison Hustles Make the World Go Round.
INDEFINITE SENTENCE—A sentence with a minimum and a maximum term. Release from an indefinite sentence usually requires approval of a parole board.
INMATE—Any individual that’s incarcerated. The term inmate and convict are often used interchangeably and are different sides of the same coin.
KANGAROO COURT—What inmates call the R.I.B. Your guilt or innocence is already determined before you even plead your case.
NEW FISH—(I knew you’d look this one up.) The New Fish is anyone new to incarceration that is unversed in the terminology and ways of the Joint. See my post The First Cellmate.
PARENT INSTITUTION–Typically where you will reside until the end of your stated sentence. Your parent institution is the first institution you are sent to upon departing reception. Over time you may transfer to other institutions from your parent institution. These then become your new parent institution.
POD–A term used to denote the individualized cell block style of buildings common in modern day institutions.
PoPo—Short for “police.” In This World, this is a negative term as in: “That dude’s the Po-Po. He snitched on his bunky.”
R.I.B.—Not the prime rib type. The (R)ules (I)nfraction (B)oard is tasked with determining your innocence or guilt for institutional rule violations. The panel then determines your punishment, oftentimes ruling on how long you will serve in the Hole.
SHORT–A term that denotes that one is near the end of their sentence.
STG—Security Threat Group. These are your gangs and other organized and unauthorized groups within the institutional setting.
SNITCH–Not the Harry Potter type. This type of snitch tell’s “The Man” of rule infractions committed by one’s peers. There’s a saying in This World and it goes “Snitches get stitches.” Literally. (No really. I’ve witnessed it many times.)
“SIX-FIVE”–A term used to describe a look out. “Will you six-five for them while they shoot tattoos?”
THE HOLE—Also known as “segregation” or SHU (Segregated Housing Unit). The hole is where you serve out your time for rule infractions. The hole typically consists of single or double man cells with a toilet and a shower.
THE MAN—Any staff member. “He told the Man.”
THIS WORLD—Here in prison.
TICKET—A ticket is a disciplinary report. When you break the rules or otherwise act like a dumbass, this is what you get. A ticket is then ruled on by the Sgt., or in cases of severe infraction, a Rules Infraction Board (RIB).
TREE JUMPER—A rapist. The term originates from the fact that some of these pervs really do jump at their victims from within or behind trees.