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doing time

to be in prison


doing time = im Gefängnis sitzen, bei Wasser und Brot sitzen



“Breaking News: Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of Theranos, was sentenced to 11 years in federal prison last week in San Jose, California … Elizabeth Holmes went from Time 100 to DOING TIME.”

The New York Times on Twitter - Breaking News: Elizabeth Holmes (18th Nov 2022)

Did you

doing time

- to be in a prison for a period of time: to serve all or part of a prison sentence



— In 1910, Mahatma Gandhi was sent to prison by South African prime minister Jan Smuts for leading a passive resistance campaign opposing discrimination against Indians in Transvaal. From his jail in Bloemfontein (Ramkraal Prison), Gandhi sent Smuts a letter offering his “sincere regards”. “The prospect of uninterrupted study for at least a year,” Gandhi declared, “fills me with joy.”

— In 1948, Robert Mitchum was arrested for marijuana possession and spent several days in a Los Angeles prison. Some time later Mitchum was asked what it was like behind bars. “It’s just like Hollywood”, he replied, “only a better class of people!”

— One evening in 1985, Bob Brown, Michigan’s Director of Corrections, attended a banquet at the state prison in Jackson. At one point, Brown asked the inmate serving his table for a second pat of butter for his baked potato. “No, sir”, the inmate replied. “One potato, one pat”. Brown asked the inmate, “Do you know who I am?” When the man replied that he did not, Brown explained that he was “The guy in charge of the entire Michigan prison system.” “Fine, sir,” said the inmate, “do you know who I am? I’m the dude in charge of the butter pats.” The chastened* director withdrew his request.

*gezüchtigt, zur Einsicht gebracht


- in a state of being imprisoned

ambushed, apprehended, arrested, away, banged up, behind bars, biding time in the slammer, booked, bottled up, bound, caged, captive, captured, caught, chained, charged, clapped in irons, closed in, cooling one’s heels in the pokey, confined, constricted, cooped up, cornered, counting the days, cut off, detained, detained at his majesty’s pleasure, doing a stretch, doing bird (porridge), DOING TIME, fettered, gaoled, held captive (prisoner), hemmed in, hog-tied, iced, imprisoned, in bondage (chains, custody, detention, irons, jail, prison), incarcerated, incommunicado, inside, interned, interred, jailed, locked in (up), on ice, paying a debt to society, penned (up), put away, remanded (in custody), restrained, seized, sent down, serving a sentence, shackled, taken into custody (prisoner), under arrest (lock and key, restraint), wearing the ball and chain

SMUGGLE OWAD into an English conversation, say something like:

“Zach Skow is a man on a mission to bring dogs into every US prison. He's founder of ‘Pawsitive Change”, a successful rehabilitation programme that pairs rescue dogs with people DOING TIME.”

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