I'm looking for a way to describe a role similar to a concentration camp kapo, but outside the context of WW2 concentration camps. I need a generalized term that would work for any time-period.

The inference I want is a person with a criminal background (a 'common thug') who benefits through harassing/controlling his own minority group, enabled by a sovereign authority. The type of person who should be in jail (sociopath), but has authority or immunity to justice because of the current power structure.

It does not need to be prison-related, but probably an extreme disparity between the minority group and the sovereign authority: company towns, Apartheid, a military occupation, religious oppression, refugees, or similar – especially where the person's status is unearned, and their actions are a betrayal against the minority group.

It does not need to be a single word. It might be a pejorative, coming from the point-of-view of the people being harassed.

  • Is this also in the context of some kind of prison? Or could it be outside of prison? Mar 20, 2020 at 13:38
  • 1
    @Rattler Not a prison, but an extreme disparity of wealth/class/social mobility – such as where the minority group is disenfranchised, occupied, or forced onto a 'ghetto'. I will add to the question.
    – wetcircuit
    Mar 20, 2020 at 16:39

1 Answer 1


In the civilian prison system, this person can be called a trusty.


A prisoner who is given special privileges or responsibilities in return for good behavior.

There had been a riot over in C Block at breakfast time, and one of the trusties, suspected of grassing, had been doused in hot fat, and set afire.

  • I don't think "trusty" works, a trusty is trusted by the authorities to be well-behaved, they have no powers. In the UK, a trusty might work in the Kitchen or library- this would not include "who benefits through harassing/controlling his own minority group," It would, however work in the historical USA - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trusty_system_(prison) but not the current: "Those who serve [10yrs] without breaking any rules ... get “trusty” status. These prisoners get prized jobs". theguardian.com/us-news/2019/aug/30/…
    – Greybeard
    Mar 20, 2020 at 15:53

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