Convict Glossary- Part One

One of the unexpected perquisites of taking up temporary residence at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp is that I have involuntarily expanded my vocabulary, continually learning new words every day. A few of them are repeatable in mixed company, and the first installment of my convict glossary (PG-rated version) follows with definitions and usages.

* Burntup: Some might refer to this as burned up, but doing so would be considered a badge of ignorance. Burntup means that a once normal human has lost the ability to think rationally and carry on coherent conversations because of long periods of continuous incarceration. For example, "He ain't trippin; dude's just burntup."

* Shock Collar: Each clan, gang, or ethnic group has a de facto leader who controls the group like a shock collar controls an animal. This term is used primarily within non-Hispanic ethnic groups. In Hispanic groups, the term is "Shot Caller" which means the person who calls the shots within the group. Obviously there was a language and pronunciation diversion in prison linguistic history, but both terms refer to the same person.

* Bid: This might also be referred to as "bit" or "spot." The term refers to the length of a sentence in years. I'm doing either a 6-bid, 6-bit or 6-spot depending upon the conversation. Thankfully, with credits for "exemplary behavior," that will end up being only about 5. A 3-bid would have been about right.

* Dime: That's a ten year sentence as in, "I'd be irreversibly depressed if I were doing a dime spot."

* ChoMo: This refers to an inmate convicted of any sex related crime against a minor, as in a Child Molester. ChoMos are never eligible to be housed in a camp.

* Paperwork: Upon arrival, the Bureau of Prisons gives every inmate an intake document which reflects the crime, the sentence, the federal judicial district and the judge. In my case the paperwork indicated a crime of wire fraud resulting in a 72 month sentence issued in the Western District of Texas before Judge Walter Smith who presided in Waco. When an inmate arrives at a prison other than a camp and is white, middle age, and can't find his paperwork, he'll be assumed to be a ChoMo and his chances of a physically violent prison welcome are extremely high.

* SHU: This is the Special Housing Unit or solitary confinement. This is not a good place to go. See here for more information.

* Shot: This refers to a citation issued to an inmate as the result of a disciplinary infraction. A shot can range from a series 100 (most serious) to a series 400 (least serious). The worst will result in some time in the SHU.

* Packed Out: This occurs most often when an inmate receives a more serious 100 or 200 series shot and is sent to the SHU. His belongings are packed into a green duffle bag which he will not see until he gets out the SHU. He has therefore been packed out. Every inmate wants to leave here ASAP, but nobody wants to be packed out.

That's enough for this first installment, as I'm feeling rather burntup right now.