Tuesday, March 21, 2017
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.