15+ Slang Words For Prison (And Other Related Terms)

Written by Gabriel Cruz - Foodie, Animal Lover, Slang & Language Enthusiast

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Inmates serve their time in prisons. For all their crimes in the past, they are paying for it with their time and freedom now. More than just inmates, there is an entire culture living within the parameters of prison. Get a glimpse of prison slang with the expressions below. 

Slang Words for Prison (in Alphabetical Order)



  • (Adjective) A prison code for someone who has gone crazy.

  • Example: The old prisoner has gone 5150. There’s no going back from that. 

Back Door Parole


  • (Noun) A prisoner given the sentence to die in prison.

  • Example: Those with back door paroles have those ghastly yet longing look in their eyes knowing they can never outside ever again.

Behind Bars


  • (Preposition) A popular phrase for someone who is in jail.

  • Example: Jake’s dad is behind bars for medical malpractice so he hasn’t seen his old man ever since he was a kid.

Catching the Chain


  • (Verb) To leave prison.

  • Example: Andrew is now legally catching the chain after his lawyer son proved his innocence.



  • (Noun) An alternative way of saying “jail” is pronounced as jail too; chiefly British.
  • Example: Gaols are known to be smelly and dirty.

Has the Keys


  • (Verb) This is called to someone who holds control over someone like how correction officers have the keys to the locks of prisoners.
  • Example: The warden has the keys to every nook and cranny of the penitentiary.

Hot One


  • (Noun) Someone who is charged of murder.
  • Example: That hot one over there is rumored to have killed his mafia members.

June Bug


  • (Noun) A prisoner submissive to the wiles of the other prisoners.
  • Example: Cassie would rather be Jenny's June bug rather than risk to be alone within prison grounds.



  • (Noun) A popular slang that is the shortened form of “juvenile correction facility”.
  • Example: Ashley’s first crush went to juvie so her friends teased her of liking bad boys.

Molly Whop


  • (Verb) To injure or get injured during a prison fight.
  • Example: Cain molly whopped Drake because he caused Cain trouble with a correction officer.



  • (Noun) A newly stationed correction officer.
  • Example: Newjacks have to go very rigid trainings before going in correction centers.



  • (Noun) This is stands for “original gangster” or someone who has been in jail for a long time.
  • Example: The O.G. knew all the prisoners on the floor.

Ride Leg


  • (Verb) To curry favors from the jail staff.
  • Example: Harvey was ride legging the warden by giving him valuable intel on the ins and outs of the prison inmate culture.

Road Dog


  • (Noun) Close inmate friends
  • Example: Jake’s road dog is his cellmate.

Stress Box


  • (Noun) Due to the emotions commonly seen alongside it, stress boxes are the monitored payphone booths.
  • Example: Rosa was weeping again at the stress box. She said her daughter got married while she was serving her sentence in here.

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