Buck fifty - A cut on the face that requires an inmate to get at least 150 stitches.
Cell block - A group of cells that make up a section of the prison.
Check off - An inmate who asks for protective custody.
Dry cell - A prison cell with no plumbing, such as a toilet. Often used when prison officials suspect an inmate will try to flush contraband.
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Gassing - When inmates throw urine or feces onto an officer or into another inmate’s cell.
Kite - A note, often secret, that inmates slide along floors and under cell doors. They’re called kites because prisoners sometimes attach string to them and fling them from their cell doors.
Letters - When a prisoner is doing life rather than a fixed number of years, his fellow inmates sometimes say: “He’s got letters.” Such inmates have little to lose.
Shank - A homemade knife made by inmates and used for attacks and self defense.
Shot caller - A high-ranking gang member with the power to order hits.
Soldier - A low-ranking gang member who must do the leaders’ dirty work.
Suitcasing - When an inmate hides contraband in his rectum.
The hole - The cell block where inmates on solitary confinement are put.
Unit manager - Supervisors who oversee a large group of inmates.