Friday, October 10, 2014

Why Are Prison Officers Called Screws?

Prison warders, wardens, officers and guards are nicknamed screws, usually by the prisoners. The slang word screw originated in the Victorian era when a prison warder or officer would give a prisoner a pointless task as a punishment. Crank Machines One of these punishments was a crank machine used as hard labour. This crank machine would involve the inmate having to turn a handle on a drum which would be filled with sand or water to make it heavier. The prison guard could tighten a screw in the drum to make turning the handle harder. Prisoners would have to turn the handle a number of times as their punishment. Thus began the slang word screw to mean a prison officer.