Prison guards taught slang after inmates moaned about the prison’s language barrier


Prisoners have complained that senior prison staff treat them unfairly because they don’t understand the slang terms they use – so HMP High Down wardens have learned to “speak like Eminem”.

Man desperate and alone in the dark
Younger prisoners fear that a “language barrier” in prison means they are being treated unfairly by guards

Prison guards are taught street slang after inmates complain about a language barrier.

Young scammers complained that older prison staff could not understand them, often resulting in unfair treatment.

After feedback from a focus group, wardens were sent to youth language refresher courses.

Among the words that attract attention are “wagwan” — slang for “what’s up?” — “blud,” meaning “brother,” and “roadman,” a term for a drug dealer.

A source said: “Staff have it hard enough without learning how to talk like Eminem. I’m sure that’s well intentioned, but it seems pretty crazy.”

The street slang sessions are held at HMP High Down.

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HMP High Down at Sutton, Surrey


Surrey Mirror)

A report by the Independent Monitoring Board found that staff at Banstead, Surrey prison “do not understand the body language and the way young men express themselves”.

The way Lags acted and talked was often “perceived as negative or aggressive” and led to more being unfairly punished. One inmate told the focus group, “You try to do the right thing, but you only get heard when you start.”

The Prison Service said: “Staff have received specialist training on how to deal with the small group of young offenders at HMP High Down and education and employment opportunities are being enhanced.”

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