mourner’s bench n.
1. (US) the court bench on which prisoners sit awaiting trial.
|CharlotteObserver (NC) 27 July 4: In the city police court a motley crowd of prisoners filled the mourners’ benches .|
|My Life in Prison 358: The boy seated himself on the ‘mourner’s bench’, and the Captain went into his office.|
2. (US prison) a bench on which new inmates sit, e.g. for indoctrination talks.
|My Life in Prison in Hamilton Men of the Und. 246: I sat on the ‘mourner’s bench’ and he stood before me, instructing me as to the rules.|
|(con. 1900s) Elmer Gantry 29: Nerve of him, trying to lead me up to any mourners’ bench!|