Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Better to Live with Nonces than Grasses

So, who would you rather share your garden fence with a bushwhacker or kiddie fiddler, or some grassing bastard?
Out there, where I suspect most of you are not up to that much that can be seen as shady, then I suppose that having to live surrounded by grasses is not much of an issue. You'd tend to be a tad more wary of the bloke with the ski-mask, duct-tape and knife.

Here, things are different. Much of what we do is against some rule or other and, coupled with powerlessness, grasses can cause huge damage. And you don't even have to be doing anything; a 'note in the box' accusing you of whatever may be sufficient to have you lifted, slung in solitary and shipped out, affecting your security categorisation and progress to release. This is why grasses are so frowned upon. They are dangerous.
Sex cases, on the other hand, pose less of a threat in here (though I'd probably draw the line at sharing a cell with a gay rapist). This particular nick runs the Sex Offender Treatment Programme (SOTP), so a large minority of cons have shady offending histories. My view is one of broad indifference - I killed someone, I'm hardly in a good position to go around passing moral judgements on others.
And so, in this Alice-Through-The-Looking-Glass world, it is far better to live with rapists and child molesters than with grasses. I can only add that, not for the first time, I realise how weird prison can be.


  1. "bushwhacker" Well thats a new word. A little GIS gives us a few possibilities:

    1. Someone who trims their bush on a regular basis, perhaps not.

    2. "Gawkers, always males and usually Mexican, that hang out on the cliffs, hills or dunes around a nude beach." Perhaps, maybe they shouls be locked up in mexico though.

    3."a legendary gang of football hooligans that follwed Millwall Fc in the 70,s and 80,s
    still active today but power much diminished" , hmmm I guess I'm not wearing white socks.

    4.Remove the h, and get people who steal on the street, I guess thats right, a little help here!

  2. With you, Steve. Interesting to get the etymology of this one. There's no rhyme in it that I can see. Tell us, please, Ben.

    I suppose, Ben, that you rate grasses worse than nonces because it's grasses that pose the gravest immediate threat to you (nonces hardly any). Makes sense.

    I remember, when I was 'teaching' in a prison, we had a visit from a kanga who had a quiet word with someone and left. Moments later an enormous man who was in for terrorising and robbing old ladies stood and said to me with cultivated menace, "Ere, Charlie, are you a cat's arse?" I was rarely alarmed in any prison I worked in, even the young offender prison, but that moment came close to terrifying.

    While we're on this language thing (I hope I'm not monopolising this blog this morning. Am I getting boring?), I can recall laughing often in prison, especially the day when the education department won a Beacon Award. They displayed a huge poster outside the office proclaiming this. Within moments, someone had obliterated the letter 'e'.

  3. I'd just assumed it was slang for a rapist, 'bush' being the obvious and 'whacker' being slang for a physical attack, but maybe my mind's just in the gutter.

    Anyway, first comment here, but long time reader, Ben, and I must admit I find your blog unique, fascinating and informative.

  4. @ von himmel, you are exactly right!

  5. To attack suddenly from a place of concealment; ambush. See Synonyms at ambush.
    bush'whack'er n.

  6. It amuses me mightily that, after a blog post describing how the writer sometimes prefers to spend his time with paedophiles, the comments are mostly devoted to an issue of semantics and etymology. I think that says a lot about Ben's readership. Fantastic.

  7. No shortage of grasse's out here too, the government have made us all spy on each other, a phone line for if you know somone is working and signing on, a phone line to snitch on someone who doesn't clear up there dog mess, cctv in every high st etc, etc. No shortage of sex offenders out here too, my friend said there is probably a nonce in every street, may just be a case of looking at child porn on the internet, but nevertheless, they are out here too. Btw, don't know if it is true, but in the days where the kangas would write your crime on the door, along with your name and no, they would put nonce as an abreviation of "not of normal criminal element."

  8. Wigarse said...

    It amuses me mightily that, after a blog post describing how the writer sometimes prefers to spend his time with paedophiles, the comments are mostly devoted to an issue of semantics and etymology. I think that says a lot about Ben's readership. Fantastic.

    Wigarse, it matters because it is never, ever acceptable to use words or phrases that belittle the experience of rape survivors (be they male or female) with euphemisms like this.

  9. @Gaina, this is standard prison slang, i am sure no offence was intended.

  10. " I think that says a lot about Ben's readership. Fantastic."

    If "bushwhacker" turns out to be someone who damages a TPO protected bush[1], then that changes the context of the next paragraphs quite a lot!

    [1] yes that is possible, there's a few round here.

  11. You wouldnt say that Ben if you had been abused by a kiddie fiddler

  12. @ Gaina

    That wasn't sarcasm - I meant it when I said "fantastic". I don't necessarily agree with you that calling paedophiles "bushwhackers" belittles their victims but I do agree that words are very important. I think it's great that no one is jumping up and down and screaming that Ben is defending sex offenders because everyone here understands the subtleties of his post.

    It won't last: if Ben's profile continues to grow we will soon be inundated with less reasoned posters. I suppose in a way that's a good thing.