Candy and Blood is a collection of essays about one man’s prison experience over the past 12 years.
Available for purchase on Amazon.com now!
*Includes a 40-page glossary of prison terminology!

Click the image below to link to Candy and Blood on Amazon.com


Do you know what these terms mean?


put a sheet up


These terms are defined in the glossary with hundreds more prison terms included.


Candy and Blood available for purchase now on Amazon.com


“In Candy and Blood: Essays From Behind Prison Walls, William D. Hastings destroys all illusions about jailhouse life. The essays in this collection are not fictional imaginings, but vivid personal snapshots of the penal system in America as recorded by a man who has been incarcerated since 2003. These gritty glimpses do not serve as an academic exposition of crime and punishment or a theoretical treatise on justice versus injustice, but rather, portray a microcosm of the human condition.

Hastings writes with an intense honesty that is both refreshing and disturbing. Each installment describes uniquely surreal circumstances in which we are introduced to real-life characters who are vividly fleshed out by plainspoken eloquence and crackerjack storytelling. The author skillfully employs an array of literary devices; from one episode to the next, he switches from absurd hyperbole to graphic imagery and metaphors to grim-voiced, graveyard humor. His guileless, self-effacing confessional tone tugs heartstrings at one moment and is laugh-aloud hilarious the next.

The eyewitness narrator pulls no punches as he effortlessly engages the reader. He confronts personal triumphs and failures head-on, but refrains from being self-indulgent. Instead, using articulate and finely tuned phrases, he addresses toxic problems such as bullying and racism in the context of how those all-too-prevalent societal ills are manifested on the wrong side of watchtowers and razor-wire.

This compilation includes a glossary of prison-slang; as you will come to learn, the creative use of language behind prison walls has some truly distinctive elements. Candy and Blood is a stunning eye-opener to the inner workings of penal institutions in a supposedly civilized society. It is a compelling must-read, especially for those campaigners persevering on the front lines in the never-ending struggle for peace and justice.”
-Ken R. Abell, author of Nightmares of Terror and Pieces of Justice

Prison is a world unto itself with its own unique culture and slang that can be largely confusing for a new inmate. Over a decade ago, William D. Hastings felt like the proverbial fish-out-of-water as he tried to navigate through this new prison world while learning the language of his fresh surroundings. On more than one occasion, he wished there was a dictionary he could consult to make life a little easier and conversations less confusing.

Even though William D. Hastings was new to prison, he had cultivated a love of language his entire life.  As such, Hastings took to learning the slang as a means of survival, but also really enjoyed mentally cataloguing this lexicon that was largely new and quite often confusing to him. Eventually, through years of thorough experience, Hastings became an expert with prison slang. These terms became so second nature to him that they peppered his everyday dialogue—even with his friends and family who had never been to prison and found the slang confusing at best.

Realizing his strangely special circumstances and expert knowledge, William D. Hastings decided to compile a prison slang dictionary. The endeavor began as a bit of a laugh because Hastings figured, at most, he might be able to find a couple hundred terms unique to the inmate. The slang terminology of prison turned out to be much more widespread and diverse than he’d originally thought.

William D. Hastings continues to serve his prison sentence, and his prison slang dictionary continues to grow as he recognizes words and phrases that are commonplace to him, but would be odd or unclear to anyone who has never spent any time behind prison walls. You can see Hastings put some of this prison slang to use as he tells stories of his prison experience at www.behindprisonwalls.com.

Available now on Amazon.com

NEW! a closed mouth don’t get fed – phrase: an aphorism that, while most often used in conjunction with food, conveys the sentiment that a person’s needs can’t be known unless they speak up and make them known <If you wanted my spaghetti, you should’ve told me; a closed mouth don’t get fed.> <A closed mouth don’t get fed, man, and I know you’re hurting right now, so do you need anything at store?>

NEW! abuse of state property – phrase: facetious euphemism for the act of masturbation

act right – phrase 1. behaving within acceptable protocols for a given situation, displaying an appropriate amount of deference and respect. See also come correct
2. the act of checking or calling someone on their inappropriate or disrespectful behavior by causing them physical harm <I heard he had to give his guy some of that act right.>

Against the Grain – phrase: this does not necessarily denote an enmity between inmate and C/O, but rather a commitment to bucking authority and a mindset to oppose said authority especially when it comes to standing with fellow convicts. This means no colluding, cooperating, or snitching

agua – noun 1. the Spanish word for water
2. an exclamation sometimes used as a warning that a C/O is coming. Rather than yelling out something as obvious and obtrusive as “C/O coming!” a lookout may holler “agua,” and then their compatriots will know to cease all illicit activity until the coast is once again clear
verb: often yelled as a request for someone to flush the toilet while they’re defecating rather than letting the feces float there until they’ve finished their business. See also put some water on it

altered – verb: any item that was issued by prison staff or properly acquired on commissary but then modified or changed in some significant way. Any altered items are considered contraband, though are mostly ignored. <I can see the tape holding your headphones together; I know they’re altered.>

armory – noun 1. room where all shackles, handcuffs, and other restraints are stored as well as the radios used for communication and the firearms used during the transport of inmates for writs. These items are checked in and out by officers as they are needed or assigned
2. room where there is a central controller and dispatcher to announce when count has cleared, relay messages between officers over the radios, and direct C/Os to the proper area if a fight is in progress and an officer needs assistance. See also control

Arsenio Wall – noun: the wall. Meaning all an individual has to look at for entertainment is the wall. See also Brickolodeon

NEW! ass out – phrase: to be ass out is to have fallen on hard times or bad luck, to have overextended oneself and gone into debt <Dude is ass out with half the guys on the deck.>

ATG – phrase: Against the Grain

baby – noun 1. an infant or young child <My baby turns four today.>
2. a woman who an inmate finds especially attractive, often a celebrity <Alicia Keys is my baby.> See also girl

baby girl – noun: one’s own female child <My baby girl got all A’s on her report card.>

baby raper – noun: child molester. See also chester, chomo, diaper sniper

back down – phrase 1. Meaning to go home after completing a prison sentence and to go right back to previous behavior, often felonious <My guy is gonna set me up with some weight as soon as I get out, and I’m back down slingin’.>
2. going right back to the same housing unit or deck after a stint in Seg < “How was Seg?” “I’m just glad I’m back down here instead of another house.”>

back up off me – phrase: a warning to give the speaker some personal space. Most often heard in the preamble bravado before a fight <Back up off me or it’s on.> See also fall back

baller – noun 1. a very rich person
2. one who uses their extreme wealth to lavish excess with gaudy jewelry, souped-up cars, and designer threads <If you were a baller in the world, how come you’re struck now?>

banger – noun 1. Slang term for a handgun. <I upped that banger and started shooting.> See also heater
2. improvised device for heating water. See also heater, stinger, pistol

bangin’ – verb: Shorthand for gang bangin’
adjective 1. extremely bad breath. See also kickin’
2. extremely good music <Her new song is bangin’.> See also kickin’

be about it – phrase: meant to put an end to all woofing and threats. Basically calls for the aggressor in an argument or confrontation to essential put up or shut up – to start fighting or stop talking <If that’s how you feel then be about it.>

beat feet – phrase: imperative instruction urging another person to go away. See also kick rocks

beat the breaks off – phrase 1. the threat of a harsh beating <Don’t mess with me; I’ll beat the breaks off you.>
2. describes a serious physical altercation where an individual got severely assaulted and trounced <He beat the breaks off that little guy.> See also beatdown, slammed

beatdown – noun 1. a violent fight, usually involving multiple attackers against one person
2. a violent thorough fight that is grossly one-sided <That big guy sure handed that little fella a beatdown.> See also slammed

beef – noun 1. A problem, issue, or disagreement you have with someone <What’s your beef with me?>
2. animosity
3. a type of meat rarely offered in prison

been down – phrase: refers to the amount of time someone has been locked up on their current bit <I’ve been down two and a half now.> see also been gone

been gone – phrase: references how long a person has been incarcerated. Usually reserved for referring to more lengthy periods, but not necessarily. <I’ve been gone twenty years.> see also been down

been one – phrase  1. signifies the ending of something, the conclusion of a matter or conversation <This day has been one, I’ll holler in the morning.> 
2. refers to the completion of one’s prison sentence <Well, after a decade, it’s finally been one.>

behind the wall – phrase 1. A maximum security prison where movement outside the cell is limited to an hour or two per day, sometimes less. Showers and laundry may be allowed only 2-4 times a week and lockdowns are frequent
2. Specifically, time spent in a maximum security facility when the gangs were still mostly in control and violence was rampant. Used in this fashion, it is a kind of badge of honor and lets people know that you’ve seen and lived through some particularly hellish things <Yeah, I spent seven years behind the wall.>

// ]]>bit – noun: prison sentence <I did three years on my first bit, now I gotta do four more.>

blade – noun: a knife. See also shank, shiv

block – noun: cell block. See also deck, gallery

blues – noun 1. state-issued uniform for inmates; it consists of dark blue pants made from thin, coarse material and a light blue button-up short sleeve shirt. See also prison blues, state blues
2. a general feeling of melancholy and malaise that comes and goes at varying times, to differing degrees
3. several shades of the color blue

board – noun: parole board <I gotta wait and see what the board is gonna say.>

body bag – noun 1. a fitted sheet opened at one end so that it resembles a bag and is designed to be slipped over a sleeping mat
2. a bag used for carrying a corpse

bogus – adjective 1. An illegal item <My fan is bogus, I bought it off the deck.>
2. anything poorly constructed <Who made that stinger? It’s bogus.>
3. anything done poorly or less than satisfactorily <The portrait you drew of my girl is bogus.>
4. an action or deed which is characterized as wrong, disrespectful, or inappropriate <That’s bogus, man.>
5. a person who does something wrong, disrespectful or inappropriate <You’re bogus, man.>

book – noun: a bound published manuscript, either softcover or hardcover, which can come in many styles, genres and are written on many topics. These can be used either to pass time and enrich the mind or as improvised weights to work out with.
verb: to book or be booked, when a person is caught doing something that is an infraction of the rules and they’re written up for it <White shirt popped off my bogus Walkman and says he’s gonna book me for it.>

books – noun 1. Inmate Trust Fund, account of an inmate’s money, which is monitored and controlled by the prison business office. This is accessed through commissary purchases mostly, but with the proper authorization form an inmate can send money home or use it for mail order book purchases and magazine subscriptions <I’m not going to make it to commissary this week; I’ve got no money on the books.>
2. plural of book

bowl – noun 1. a pipe used for smoking marijuana
2. a concave dish used for holding food while eating.

box – verb: to fight, boxing
noun 1. property box, hard plastic container with a sliding lid whose approximate dimensions are four feet in length, three feet in width, and one foot in height. All personal property such as food and clothes must fit in the property box
2. what inmates live out of
3. correspondence box, hard plastic container with a sliding lid whose approximate dimensions are two feet in length, one foot in width, one foot in height. Only letters, books, and various paperwork are allowed to be stored here.

box is low – phrase: meaning that there aren’t many supplies remaining in an individual’s property box

boy – noun: friend, buddy. See also guy, man, homey <Jim is my boy.>

NEW! bracelets – noun: handcuffs <Once I felt those bracelets again, I knew I was going down for a long time.>

Brickolodeon – noun: the wall. It means that with no TV to entertain, all a person can do is stare at the wall. See also Arsenio Wall

NEW! Bruce Lees – noun: cheap, canvas shoes with thin, rubber soles. These are prison-issued footwear in some joints. They slip on the foot and almost resemble slippers, but are similar in appearance to the shoes Bruce Lee wore in some of his films. They aren’t particularly comfortable, and provide less than adequate protection from the elements.

bubble – noun: area where officer runs building operations and controls electronic lock cell doors as well as cell house doors. Only a few feet above ground level, its name comes from the glass walls which enable the C/O to observe inmate movements on the gallery but remain secure from inmate attacks <What C/O we got running the bubble tonight?>

buck wild – phrase 1. meaning to be extremely gregarious and indulging in copious amounts of partying and sexual activity <When I get out, I’ma go buck wild.>
2. engaging in illegal activities recklessly and without thought of discretion or taking any measures to avoid detection <The cops popped me off because I was out there buck wild.>

bug – noun 1: an individual who, whether due to a legitimate mental health issue or brought on by extended incarceration, exhibits manic, off-kilter, questionable behavior such as: mood swings, inability to focus or finish a conversation, intense discussions carried on solely with one’s self, random unexplained outbursts of speech and emotion, excessive exaggerated smiling
2: a cellie or other individual whose mind and habits have been warped to OCD degrees of focus and fanaticism, usually by lengthy confinement, and as a result insists on cleaning their miniscule living area to extreme excess multiple times a day, becoming irate or inconsolable over the tiniest of hygienic infractions
3: a crazy person

bus – noun 1. transfer bus
2. the transportation for inmates between prisons which involves the shackling and handcuffing together of up to sixty inmates. A trip that very few people look forward to or enjoy <I hate having to ride that bus.>

by the book – phrase: a C/O who adheres to all the rules and regulations of an institution with the zeal of a religious fanatic <That C/O is so by the book he’ll write you up for spitting on the sidewalk.> See also crank, robocop

One thought on “A-B”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

A Dictionary by William D. Hastings