If Jeffrey Epstein, the disgraced millionaire who ran a child pornography ring, were incarcerated in a federal prison he would be known as a “chomo.” That’s because, according to prison inmates and officers, chomos are at the absolute bottom of the implied prison hierarchy. They’re the scum of the earth and are feared by everyone else in the compound.
The term chomo is prison slang for a child molester, and it’s thrown around as an insult, or to warn people that someone they know might be a pedophile. The chomo slur can be directed at anyone who spends time with children, not just sex offenders.
A chomo is a low-ranking inmate and, in some facilities, he or she may not be allowed to go out of his or her cell at all. In some cases, the chomo is also prohibited from eating in the prison dining hall or visiting other prisoners in their cells.
In other cases, the chomo is placed in an isolation unit. He or she is usually surrounded by guards, and is kept locked in his or her cell for up to 24 hours a day. This is done to prevent escapes, or to punish inmates who break prison rules. Isolation units can be brutal places, and chomos are not safe from other prisoners attacking them or torturing them in some way.