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Performance objectives identify Spanish terms, phrases, and slang words. Identify prison slang words, terms and phrases. Presentation

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Communication is the key to managing offenders. An area we would like to focus on is the use of Spanish terms. Officers are sometimes at a disadvantage when their unit of assignment has a vast number of Spanish-speaking offenders. The information that is provided in this lesson is only a brief overview of common terms and phrases that Spanish-speaking offenders use. Learning some of these terms and phrases may facilitate the communication process with these offenders.
Another very important aspect of offender management is being able to communicate with the offenders. Correctional employees should be aware of the vocabulary unique to this environment. There are words and phrases that are peculiar to the vocabulary and terminology of prison offenders. This block of instruction is also designed to familiarize the employee with prison slang (to include Spanish words). You will be able to recognize these words and terms and know what they mean. Although it will be very helpful for you to know and understand prison slang, this block of instruction is not designed for the employee to adopt these words and phrases as part of their own vocabulary.

  1. Identify Spanish terms, phrases, and slang words.

2. Identify prison slang words, terms and phrases.


  1. Have you ever been in a situation where you had trouble understanding a non-English speaker's attempt at speaking English? It is frustrating when you cannot comprehend what someone is trying to say; therefore, from the very start, you will learn how the Spanish sound system works. Although perfect pronunciation is not necessary to communicate, we will begin with tips on how to communicate as clearly as possible.

  1. One of the keys to effective Spanish pronunciation is using the correct vowel sounds. Take note that the normal sounds are always pronounced as follows:

Similar to sounds

Vowel Pronunciation In English

A ah father

E eh elementary

I ee me

O oh orange

U oo do

  1. In addition to learning about vowels and their sounds, learning the alphabet will assist in being able to pronounce Spanish words. Communicating in Spanish can be quite easy if you master the alphabet.

Letter / Pronunciation Letter / Pronunciation

a ah m EH-meh

b beh n EH-neh

c seh ñ EH-nyeh

ch chech o oh

d deh p pe

e eh q koo

f EH-feh r EH-reh

y heh rr Eh-rreh

h AH-cheh s EH-she

i ee t teh

j HOH-tah u oo

k kah v veh

l EH-leh w doh-bleh-VEH

ll EH-yeh x Eh-kees
Remember, learning the vowels and their similar sounds to the English words that were provided will assist you in being able to recite the alphabet.

  1. Reciting the alphabet is fun; try your luck at it you may surprise yourself! Now let's review some common terms used in our everyday Spanish language:

Common Spanish Words Common English Words

Gracías Thanks

Adíos Bye

Bueno Good or Okay

Símpre Always

Individuo Individual

Muy Very

Cena Dinner

Casa House

Verdad True

Poco Little

Jefe Boss

Hoy Today

Ahora Now

Doctor Doctor

Señor Mr./Sir/Gentlemen

Señora Mrs./Lady/Madam

Señorita Miss

Navaja Knife

Vidrio Glass

Common Spanish Greetings Common English Greetings

Hola Hello

Buenos Días Good Morning

Buenas Tardes Good Afternoon

Buenas Noches Good Evening

Adíos Good-Bye

Hasta Luego So Long

Qué tal How's it going?

Spanish Words/Phrases English Words/Phrases

Uno momento One moment

No Comprendo I don't understand

No Sé I don't know

Necesito I need

Por favor Please

Lo Síento I'm sorry

Perdón Excuse me

Common Spanish phrases used in the prison environment:
Spanish Phrase English Phrase

oye tu Hey you

sientaté Sit down

sientate aqui Sit here

silencío Be quiet.

ven aquí Come here.

¿adónde vas? Where are you going?

deja de pelear Stop fighting.

suelatalo Put it down/Let him go/Let it go.

pon tus manos detras de tú espalda Place your hands behind your back

dame tus manos Give me your hands

ven conmigo Come with me.

ponté de pie allá Stand over there

parate aqui Stand here

parate Stand up

esperate squi Wait here

ve para tú casa Go to your house.

como té llamas What is your name?

qué es tú numero What is your number?

dame tu tarjeta de identificacíon Give me your ID card

dame to ID Give me your ID

pon tus mános en las pared Put your hands on the wall.

acuestaté Lay down.

cerra la puerta Close the door.

encaja tu propiedad Pack your property.

regresa Get back

para de resistir Stop resisting

No te resistas Don’t resist

ve para la clase Go to class.

¿dónde esta tu casa? Where is your house?

¿dónde vives? Where do you live?

dame tu ropa Give me your clothes

volteate turn around

vacia tu bolsas Empty your pockets

levanta los brazos Lift your arms

separa los peas Separate your feet

hincate Kneel down
4. There are five common words an officer will use during an investigation of an incident:

Spanish Word English Word

Quien Who

Qué What

Cuándo When

Dónde Where

Cómo How

  1. Finally, offenders quite often communicate with slang words:

Slang Term English Term/Phase

jura officer

Ese báto guy

wila letter

copia copy/pattern

warreche coffee

qafas sunglasses

canton/chante house/cell

stoolie when you tell on someone

gavachó white person

carnal brother/home boy

clavo a stash/collection

pico shank

Esta Calmado it's cool/ calm

Ponte trucha be alert

Un niquel five-year sentence

B. Prison Slang - an insight to the slang terminology that offenders use:
Slang Word Common Word Slang Word Common Word
Boss Officer Newby New Officer

Five O Officer Aggie Farm Hoe

Fishing Throw A Line Trick Prostitute

Thieves Offenders Laws Gray Shirt

Woods White Boys Killing Offender Masturbating

Kite Letter Snitch To inform

Jacked Refuse to comply Homeboy Individual from with orders same hometown

Electricians Instigators Journeyman Instigators

Deuce 2-yr sentence Nickel 5-yr sentence

Dime 10-yr sentence Shitter Solitary Confinement

Chow Food Pisser Solitary Confinement

Cutting Up Suicide Meditation Solitary Confinement

Monster HIV Drive-Up First timer

Bean Chute Tray slot Road Dog Friend

Yo-Yo Weed Cutter Buck Refuse

U.A. Urinalysis Hack Prison Guard

Herb Weak offender Cheese eater Informer

Bull Dyke Lesbian Cutting heads Fighting

Dis Disrespect Stole Stole My Cool

Banger Knife Stud Aggressive Homo

Police/Robo Cop Officer Case Offense report

Bogus Made-up/Not real

  1. Phrases or Terms

Chunking – To throw liquid substance, food, urine, and feces

Dress Up – To chunk on an officer

Jacked – Refused to comply with orders

Homeboy – Individual from same hometown

Snitch – Giving information to employees concerning other offenders

Daddy / Wolf Taking the male role

Short Close to release date

House – Cell or Dormitory

Shank / Spike – Some kind of knife or sharp pointed weapon

Chain – Group of offenders arriving or departing

Chalk / Raisin Jack – Home made alcoholic beverage

Johnny– Sack lunch

Hot Johnny – Hot meal served in the field

Good Johnny – A good meal

Bad Johnny A bad meal

Bullet – One-year prison sentence

On the One – Honest (George Washington, who was known never to lie, is on the one-dollar bill)

Split your wig– A quick punch to the head

In the Car – In on the “deal”

Lay it Down – Cease working/Surrender

White Money – Currency with the institution

Homie Person from hometown

New Boot – New officer

Drive-Up – First timer

Chain Bag – Orange/Red mesh sack

Catch the Wall – Stand facing the wall

Offender’s House – Cell/bunk/cubicle

Bump it Up – Move up in a line

Bump it Down – Move over/Keep walking

Head Running Talking too much

Punk Slap – Slap an offender

Catch a Pair/Deuce it Up – Walk in two column

Pencil Whipped – To be written up by an officer

Cold Lick – Done you wrong

Turn Out – Go to work, chow, recreation etc

Locked up – Placed in Pre-hearing detention

Tripping – Losing your cool or control/getting mad

Work Buck – Refusal to start work

Slow Buck Working slow

All Swole – Upset, pouting, hurt feelings, etc.

Turned out – sexually assaulted

Let Slide – Give him a break

Cool It – Forget about it

Blow it Off – Settle down and take it easy

Click Up – To join a Gang

Deck – Pack of cigarettes

Fish – A new inmate

Keister – To hide something in the anal cavity

Mule – A person who smuggles drugs into the institution

N.G. – "No Good" (meaning he’s a rat, he talks too much)

Stick – Marijuana cigarette

Ace Boon Coon/ Ace- Duce– Best Friend, Buddy, "Homie"

Badge – Guard, Correctional Officer

Beef – Disciplinary charge, problem. To "catch a beef", "I gots a beef wit you"

Blind – Area where correctional officers cannot see, as in "let’s go to the blind"

Bonaroo – One’s best clothes

Brick – A carton of cigarettes

Cap – The amount of marijuana that fits into a chap stick cap

Moe – Married homosexual in prison

Catch out – Move around, leave an area rapidly

Stool Pigeon – Giving information to employees concerning other offenders

Wreck/Switch – Getting into trouble with offenders or employees

Hogged – Forced by other offenders

Lookout – Expression to get attention, as in hey you

Jigger – Warning/staff approaching

Snap – Intelligence, realization or getting the point

Stacked - Two or more sentences which run consecutive

CC – Two or more sentences served as one

Cut Me Up – Look me up

Fell from – County or city where convicted

Bum Rap – Unjust conviction or charge

Fall Partners – Two or more offenders convicted for same offense

Writ Writer – Offender who writes writs concerning his sentence

Jail House Lawyer – Offenders who assist others in writ writing

Set/Put Off – Parole date set back

Serve All – Parole denied, offender must serve all his sentence

Short – Close to release date

Free World – World outside prison

Tank or Wing – Cell block or dormitory

All Day – A life sentence, as in "He’s doing’ all day"

Let Me Bounce Your Car - Can I borrow your radio?

Nut Up – Go crazy, become enraged

Phones off the Hook – The Guard is listening

Press Your Bunk Punk – Lay down on your bed and shut up

  1. The offenders are working the fields and one of them asks for an Aggie (slang word) for _______ ______.

  1. An offender is being transported to another unit and will miss lunch so he requests his Johnny (slang word) for _____ _____.

  1. The English slang word for letter is ______.

  1. An officer has to question a Spanish-speaking offender that was involved in an incident. Five Spanish words that will be used to retrieve the information are: ______, _______, ______, ______ and ______.

  1. The Spanish slang word used to identify an officer is _______.


Remember that as a correctional employee it is important that we be able to communicate effectively with offenders. Good communication enhances the understanding for all parties involved. We must be familiar with and respect the various cultures within our prison communities. This familiarization and understanding gives us the ability to more effectively manage and control our correctional institutions and those incarcerated within them.


Written Examination

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