Examples of kite
Examples of kite
Where does kite come from?
Kite as prison slang for notes passed between inmates goes back to the 1920s. It apparently takes its name from prisoners flinging notes on a string to one another, like flying a kite, as the activity was called.
In contemporary prison culture, kites are sent in a variety of creative ways, including when a prisoner passes a note while doing work such as laundry or delivering food. Kites may also be passed by addressing a letter to a fake address, putting the name and address of the intended recipient as the return address, and waiting for the post office to return to the “sender.”
Kite has become common enough in prison culture that any message, especially a written request, is referred to as a kite, including among staff. Want to see a doctor, get moved to another cell block, or complain about a guard? Send a kite or kite it. And kites complaining about prison staff, by the way, are known as fan mail.
I wish phil spector would reply to my prison kites .
— Charles Manson (@heltershelter) February 22, 2010
Who uses kite?
Both inmates and correctional staff may use kite for messages and communication. Messages from inmates to people outside prison may also be called kites.
— Bossip (@Bossip) September 17, 2016
“@SWAGGAD0WNPAT: would one be right in assuming a prison "kite" is the equivalent to a real world "tweet"?”
Now you're getting it!
— Damien Echols (@damienechols) January 13, 2013
To Shoot A Kite, based on prison slang for sending a message, was a 2014 art exhibit in New York City which focused on the harsh realities of prison life.
Note that kite has had many other historic slang senses, ranging from “passing bad checks” to “smoking crack cocaine.”