Inmate Argot as an Expression of Prison Subculture: The Israeli Case

Tomer Einat, Haim Einat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The study examines the argot (jargon) of prisoners as a reflection of the norms and values comprising the inmate subculture in Israeli prisons. The phenomenological interview method was used to examine the language of a sample of long-term prisoners for the existence of an inmate argot. Having established that such an argot does exist, the data were subjected to a content analysis, and the salience of the argot terms was assessed using two measures, attention and intensity. The argot expressions were divided into categories with reference to different aspects of prison experience: prisoner status (informers, inmate rank), drugs, sexual relations in prison, violence, prisoner behaviors, nicknames for police officers, and prison staff.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-325
Number of pages17
JournalPrison Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2000
Externally publishedYes


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