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Posted by ESC on March 10, 2004

In Reply to: Prison/jail posted by SR on March 10, 2004

: : : : : While there are many names for prison and jail here in the US and Britain, their reference origin is vague. Can anyone help out here or even add to the list?
: : : : in the joint
: : : : in the brig
: : : : in the calaboose
: : : : in the hoosekow (sp)
: : : : in the big house
: : : : up the river
: : : : in the slammer
: : : : put away

: : : : Any and all input would be appreciated.

: : : doing time

: : stir
: : pokie
: : in the tank
: : in the can
: : clink

: : I appreciate the additions but can you help with the origins also?

Jail/prison - "A 'jail' is typically a building, though it may be a lockup inside a police station, for the confinement of those who are awaiting trial or who have been convicted of minor offenses (misdemeanors). Local police departments usually administer city jails, and sheriffs' offices usually administer county jails. People convicted of major crimes (felonies) are likely to be confined in a 'prison' or 'penitentiary,' these words being used interchangeably.

Another type of 'penal institution' (the generic term for all places of confinement for those adjudged guilty of a crime) is a 'reformatory,' or 'house of correction,' where juveniles convicted of lesser offenses are sent for training and discipline intended to reform rather than punish them. A penitentiary for women is sometimes called a 'reformatory' as well."

From "When is a Pig a Hog? A guide to confoundingly related English words" by Bernice Randall (Prentice Hall, New York, 1991).

I will look in my other references this evening.