How has the prison culture: common funds in banks and tridents instead of domes

In Ukraine in recent years has changed the prison unspoken rules that exist between inmates or about their way of life. In some cases, a completely new “norm” in others experience has shown that to change the old order dangerous. What were the unwritten rules of behavior, or “concepts”, 50 years ago (see below) and that has since changed, found “Today”.

The impact of the prison way of life so great that it forced to be employees of the penitentiary system. “Not understanding the subtleties of the subculture of prisoners, you can run into bad consequences. For example, there is a “rule” when on the personal Affairs of the prisoners are marked with stickers that serve as marks that the caste to which belongs a person. This is done in order to avoid errors. For example, if a prisoner belongs to the caste of “thieves”, transferred to another prison and his case it doesn’t, it can put in the wrong compartment. The consequences can be tragic”, — told the “Today” Deputy head of the Ministry of justice Denis Chernyshov.

CHANGE. The head of the Penitentiary service of Ukraine in 2014, Sergey Starenky told us that the classic thieves orders of the Soviet era in our prisons are gone, and for a long time. Changes began in the 1990s, when the prison began to be filled muscular, but not distinguished by intelligence bandits, the so-called bulls. Their crimes were primitive, but brutal. Predominated brute force to break into the house skorobogatiy-merchant, to bind the owners and take away everything of value, applying a brutal, but simple torture (red-hot iron, which is in every house). “Similarly, the bulls behaved in prison, says an Old. — Suppressed “thieves” physical strength: who is healthier, he is right. The blood in the chambers then flowed freely, but won youth. “Underworld” the government was badly shaken, but survived, the elderly began to negotiate with the new generation”.

PRISON PENALTIES. A new stage — the late 1990s — early 2000s. Then planted a lot of businessmen who have the freedom survived the great amount. The money these people bought their privileges in the “thug” (nice place in the cell, food, protection from harassment). And almost immediately the prison “concept” tailored to the latter-day sponsors of the Fund (the illegal prison cashier) — they say that gave money — a respected man. For 5-7 years the common funds appeared millions of dollars. Those who “sat down” on a big budget, began not only to get rich (money in the Bank, the interest itself), but also to increase the amount at the expense of the prisoners. If you have previously any violation of the “concepts” were punished physically, now you could pay off a fine. The perpetrators are not beaten, not “let down” (raped), and bred for money. Like, you “uporol school” (wrong) — pay.

The common FUND. “Osmakova” cash hidden in secret places, are gone, now the money stored in Bank accounts, cards of mobile operators and, if necessary, cashed. In the chambers there is only a small amount, which is not a pity to lose during the search.

“My son, alas, a repeat offender, so I well know the prison rules. I take his transmission, but often the money. Now for the money the area can all — a good place the favor of his superiors. In the colony where he sits, running a service station, and his son, a former painter, paint cars, and almost for free,” — told us Natalia H.

The Ministry of justice deny that prisons are massively violated the laws. “We carry out regular inspections of penitentiary establishments, taking appropriate measures”, — told us in the Department.

Mail. With normal ropes the prisoners communicate


In the Soviet Union the inhabitants of “accommodation with sky in the box” was rigidly divided into two main castes (the prison language “suit”), let’s call them “professionals” and “Amateurs”. The first include those who have had several convictions and lived the principles about which spoke with irony the character of the Soviet film “Gentlemen of fortune” Associate: “I went Out, stole, drank, in jail… Romance.” Second, he was imprisoned by chance. After serving time, are often returning to normal life and the law no longer tried to violate.

The first was called “thieves”, the second “men”. “Criminals” (they were called tramps, travel, tramps) — a higher caste, they often belonged to the real power in the prison or in the zones. So it was on the so-called “black” areas, where, in contrast to “red”, controlled by the prison guards and activists from the “of men”, the management of the zone illegally allowed the bandits to maintain discipline in the barracks.

“Thug” couldn’t be a convict who served in the army, worked as a “Chaldean” (in the service) and cooperating with the administration — such they contemptuously called “goats” or “active”. “Criminals” in the area were not working, although prisoners in the USSR it was mandatory or held the position of “idiot” (not heavy work), attendant, librarian, record-Keeper.

In the “thug” had a “common Fund” — a black box office, which collected money from the inmates and then allocated to needy bribes or “grèves” — food, tea, cigarettes, alcohol. Is “thug” and not the administration was to be the arbitrator in disputes between inmates — the so-called showdown “on concepts”. But for the unfair judgement he could ask the thieves — the higher ranks in the hierarchy of “cool”.

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the thieves in the law were few, about 500 people on the millions of Iakov. Thief in law could be a man with a criminal record, the authority in the criminal environment and “crowned” (as adopted in the members of the thieves in law) at their meetings-“gang meeting”. He didn’t have to work, to marry, to have money and property, except personal belongings, did not cooperate with the administration, but had unlimited power in their areas.

Lower level “criminals” — “Snatchers” or “six” that served them. “Muzhiki” (“gray”) — the most numerous caste. But since they, unlike the “thieves”, fragmented and are not as aggressive to stand up for themselves is difficult for them. “Men” work, do not claim power and do not cooperate with the authorities. On the showdown “thieves”, “men” have no right to vote, although “criminal” may listen to the opinions of distinguished men, especially those who have money.

The smallest caste is the “omitted” or “the roosters”, which could forever to get any violator of the laws of thieves. It got the most scored by prisoners, which did force a passive homosexual. They automatically become pedophiles and gays. Omitted lived in the corner of the toilet, ate at a separate table, doing the most menial work of cleaning latrines, cleaned, worked the stokers.

For more humiliation these people “criminals” leaky dishes, spoons, and the poor man was forced to eat, plugging the hole with your finger. The one who even accidentally had any contact (except for the homosexual) with a lowered or his things, his place at the table, automatically became a “securenym”, lost respect. Often for entertainment “criminals” “let down” novice”men”. The prison authorities and areas these issues are not interested.


It is no secret that one of the signs of human presence in places of deprivation of liberty used to be tattoos. For experienced people they can tell a lot about their owner, as well as all shoulder straps from the military. And just like the shoulder straps and wear other people’s undeserved rewards, and getting yourself a tattoos not “suit” (custodial status) harshly punished “thieves”.

Favorite topics — women and the risk

Of the Soviet Union. Among the many stories of prison tattoos: ships, daggers, roses, women, icons, etc. experts identify several well-known tattoos that were previously found in every serious con. The first is the rings on the fingers, there can be up to ten, one for each. For example, a tattoo of “stone” in the form of a white St. Andrew’s cross on a dark background means that its owner was convicted of robbery, ACE of clubs — a thief, a diamond with a vertical bar — man, neutral, circle with a dot in the middle is an orphan.

Hands — card thief

Next story — the stars on the clavicles and epaulettes on the shoulders. This tattoo the most respected of criminals: thieves, “looking”, “denied” (i.e. oppose themselves to the camp of the regime and administration). Just prick it is impossible, first it is necessary to serve a decent time in the Boers (the barracks enhanced mode) and SHIZO (a penal insulator).

Epaulettes “were” thieves in law

Imposters thieves severely punished. While illegally filled tattoo sometimes tear off with the skin. The same applies to the other classical subjects, for example, the Church cupolas on the back, showing the number of round trips in the area: each dome — one Walker. And finally, a funny zaouiet is the cat, sometimes accompanied by the abbreviation CAT (indigenous inhabitants of the prison). Cat is also the symbol of pickpockets, have fun and be careful.

Cat — a symbol of pickpockets

WORLD — I will correct execution

SIR — Freedom is Paradise

Leo — for distinguished people

Domes — the number of round trips

UKRAINE. According to Sergey Old, tattoo-wearing thug character, now the demand in prisons is almost there. One of the main reasons was the weakening of the “thug” concept, which required that each prisoner wore a label showing his “suit”, that is, the status in the prison world. Other — improving the culture of inmates, many of whom do not venture to make “tattoo” in the unsanitary conditions of a prison cell or barrack, for fear of getting blood poisoning or infection. And the quality of the tattoo made by prison craftsmen, does not correspond to modern standards. Besides, as we told the former prisoner Yuri K., many do not want, having been released, “Shine” prison past.

“Most running — it still rings, but their symbolic meaning has almost disappeared: make beautiful patterns, and it was mostly guys caught in the area for the first time, — says Yuri. And stars on his shoulders almost nobody stabs. Like labels on the feet of the type “they are tired” or eight-pointed stars on the knees talking about the fact that their media will never be on my knees in front of the jailers. More popular epaulettes, but disappeared in the strict rules of their application, any pattern can now be explained by the artistry, and not in a prison sense.”

Given that now the culture of the civilized tattoo is much more common than prison, many are in prison already tattooed, but usually it’s not prison stories, drawings, jokes, characters. After the events of the Euromaidan, the barman who knows how to do tattoos, not to lose skills and earnings, I propose to make a Patriotic pattern, such as a Trident Cossack theme, many agree.

“Now, when you come on stage condemned, then be sure to ask what they have tattoos. This is a mandatory question to know what is people. For example, those who are first time into the prison, on the body mostly pinned characters. Think it is because it is still young, loves creativity. Mothers who have a regular period to come with the tattoo, which was done in Soviet times”, — told us jailers.


Special rules, different from the secret statutes of most of the colonies, — in children’s and women’s.

“The hardest thing we have with some of those who have just arrived on the stage from jail — told us the employee of one of the colonies for minors. — Except that this man has committed a crime on the loose, it is still a bit messed up and being in prison.

Here is an example: came a young man with obviously high self-esteem, believes that he will be the leader here. Like all other newcomers, he goes on a two week “quarantine”. During these 14 days he is adapting his familiar with the rules of the colony, with kid psychologists. After that send to the squad. Usually in groups of 7 to 10 people. Well, when I got to the party, one of the newcomers tried to say, to seize power. But they also asked pupils this question: “You’re cool, want to be in charge around here? But why you? We have other orders, and you with us to serve time, so gotta…” in Other words, do everything that he found no support from anyone.

For us, all pupils are equal, even if his character pronounced leadership or the article under which he was convicted, heavier than the rest. But there is a Council asset of the pupils. It is young men who have proven themselves positively. They put the task of maintaining order within the group, they smooth the conflict, control the cleaning areas. They are not leaders, the leader of the colony one is the head of the institution. In addition, each employee is assigned to one or two pupils”.

About the unspoken rules in women’s prisons in one of his interviews told us the giant Ukrainian, now deceased Love Shyla. Recall, height 2 m
13 cm, it is officially regarded as the highest Ukrainian, about two years spent in the colony for assaulting a nurse. Shyla told us that in the women’s prison were dominated by emotions: if the behavior of the prisoner resented the fact she was given an insulting nickname, it is the few who talked, and everything was done to make her uncomfortable in prison.

With undesirable ladies do not communicate


According to the prison authorities, the classical slang of thieves, the so-called Fenya in Ukrainian prisons remained, however, used less frequently, because the old generation leaves “the lesson” (thieves with experience), and young criminals is now your language. But a few words that many people never had conflicts with the police now, do not hesitate to use in everyday life come from thieves ‘ cant.

For example, “grandmother, lave” (money), “the roach” (the butt), “waste of time” (drag), and even “sucker” (sucker, loser). We offer a small selection of seemingly ordinary words, but it’s a prison expression, who went to the people. The philologist Alexey Kulchitsky says: people not use these words because of their imagery, “smachnosti” and short. So, “AMBA” means to an end, “atas”, “nix” — hazard “outrage” — unmotivated cruelty, “nychka” — a secluded place, “dope” — the great “huckster” — fence, however, is now so often called dishonest and greedy businessmen. But the concept of “COP” (policeman) leaves after renaming of militia in police. The word “stiff” — a dead man — also originating from the area as “musician” musician, “Laba” is to play the guitar. The concept of “ID” — photo ID, passport is used even in the media as “malyava” — note the letter “Pont” — the desire to throw dust in the eyes, “take off” — cheat “zoom” — a coarse filing false claims with the use of force, “bullshit” is bullshit, not true. Even the words “mug” — an unpleasant man, “the punk” is a jerk, “kid, this little twisted thing” — the runt, “fart” is luck, “shakedown” searches, “Saramago” — a lover of freebies too were born in places not so remote. And if the noun to add to the lexicon of verbs, e.g. “taburet” — to behave arrogantly, “to climb the horns” — to provoke a scandal, “draw” to appear, “razdelyvanie” — to divide, to split — to force to admit, “claw” — to run away, “Philo” — lazy, then it is possible to go for “pigeons”. Now the so-called people close to the criminal world, although 30-50 years ago this word had the opposite meaning.