Just watched the Ealing police procedural film The Long Arm, 1956, and heard this:
It can’t be him. He’s inside doing half a stretch.
Now I know that stretch is slang for term of imprisonment, usually qualified as two stretch, five stretch, ten stretch, ie a two year term, five, ten, but I wasn’t aware that unqualified it could mean a specific term. But, as OED shows, it indeed can.
b. A term of hard labour; twelve months as a term of imprisonment. Also loosely, a prison sentence (freq. with preceding numeral signifying the number of years). Also transf.
1821 Life D. Haggart (ed. 2) 138, I was then sentenced to lag for seven stretch.
1857 ‘Ducange Anglicus’ Vulgar Tongue 21 Stretch, hard labour, in prison. Th[ieves]. Stretch, twelve months hard labour. Th.
1888 ‘R. Boldrewood’ Robbery under Arms iv, There’s a lot of law! How did I learn it? I had plenty of time in Berrima Gaol—worse luck—my first stretch.
1949 ‘M. Innes’ Journeying Boy ix. 109 If we were getting him a stretch, we could go to bed feeling we had done something useful.
1951 P. Branch Lion in Cellar xx. 222 He’s in Joe Gurr again. He got nicked in Cardiff on a snout gaff… It’s only a two stretch and a lot of the Boys had their collars felt.
So half a stretch turns out to be 6 months. Any of these usages familiar in the US or Australia?