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All human societies have “pecking orders” and prison is no exception.There are rewards and punishments which require a currency for payment.In prison the warders or screws need the help and co-operation of the prisoner bosses to maintain law and order. So certain prisoners get extra privileges, things will be smuggled in, a blind eye turned.

The bosses and certain trusted prisoners -trusties will influence the ordinary prisoners-the blokes. They will reward them with tobacco or drugs and will persuade them to work , obey orders and allow them to bully and abuse weaker prisoners.Prisoners in for particularly “famous” or violent crimes and for life may have a certain cachet and status.Where the death penalty is still extant the prisoners on “Death Row” live a world apart often for long years and through multiple appeals.

The most despised prisoners are the sex offenders-who often are kept quite separate from the other prisoners. The warders dislike them too. They are often older and from quite different background, education and experience.