The Law: Prison Patois

To set themselves apart from the "straight" world that incarcerated them, prisoners have developed an argot that few outside of jail could hope to understand. Thus, for new volunteers who work with prisoners, the New York State Department of Correctional Services recently compiled a pamphlet that included half a dozen pages of current "inmate jargon." A sampling of some of the more colorful terms:

Bug juice: medicine

Cop a mope: get away from me

Ding him: swing sneakily at him

Doing a pound: serving a five-year sentence

Feeb: low on the inmate social scale

Flat bit: definite sentence (a "split bit" is a...