A Glossary of Prison Slang

From “Buck Rogers time” (a sentence with a far-future parole date) to “the monster” (HIV)


Some prison slang:

bo-bos: prison-issued tennis shoes

bone yard: trailers used for conjugal visits

brake fluid: psychiatric meds such as liquid Thorazine

Buck Rogers time: a sentence with parole unimaginably far in the future

chalk: prison moonshine

chin check: to punch an inmate in the jaw to see if he’ll fight back

clavo: (Spanish for “nail”) dangerous contraband

diaper sniper: child molester

diesel therapy: a lengthy bus trip, used as a punishment

ding wing: mental health ward

erasers: chunks of processed chicken

high class: hepatitis C

iron pile: weightlifting equipment

jack book: any magazine with pictures of women

the monster: hiv

ninja turtles: guards dressed in riot gear

robocop: guard who writes up every infraction, no matter how small

six-five: warning that a guard is approaching

stainless-steel ride: lethal injection

13 1/2: 12 jurors, 1 judge, and 1/2 a chance; seen in prison tattoos

The Mojo Prison Guide Menu

IT'S TIME TO TALK ABOUT MEDIA BIAS

We believe that journalism needs to stand for something right now. That the press is the enemy of secrecy and corruption. That reporting without a sense of right and wrong only helps liars and propagandists succeed. And that we're in this fight for the long haul.

So we're hoping to raise $30,000 in new monthly donations this fall. Read our argument for journalism that is fair and accurate and stands for something—and join us with a tax-deductible monthly donation (or make a one-time gift) if you agree.