prison blades

Joined
Dec 28, 2005
Messages
25
I have always been interested in improvised weapons, particularly those fasioned behind bars. It's scary to think if all I had to defend myself was a sharpened peice of plastic, in the one place you really need to. Although from what I have read most prison knifings are surprise attacks, often from behind into the armpit puncturing the lung. You simply don't see it coming. Most shivs/shanks are fairly short, metal sometimes plastic or even melted styrofoam, I understand a long one is called a bonecrusher. A Don Juan is a bed coil spring with sharpened wire tip, a Gillette Bayonet has a razor attached to a pencil or similar object. I have also seen on various documentaries metal knuckles, body armor consisting of National Geographics, a wooden cross containing a blade (like a sword cane), a crossbow, garrotte that was pathetically claimed to be a zipper drawstring, a spear made from a mop handle and shiv, and the most vicious weapon I have ever seen, a foot or so length of razorwire with handles of rolled masking tape on each end.

Just curious if there are any CO's, cons, or anyone else who knows of any interesting blade concoctions, what's the weirdest thing you've seen.
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2002
Messages
207
After making several poor decisions in a row as a younger man, I had the pleasure of visiting one of California's finer institutions, San Quentin. I can tell you there is no such thing as a bed spring in the joint, at least not in the Q. We slept on flat assed straw filled matresses on steel framed bunks welded solidly at every seam. The most common "weapon" I saw was a sock with either a combination lock or a new bar of soap in it, swung around at high speed this was a formidable weapon, and readily available. I never saw a "shank" in my 10 months, but a guy did get nailed in the breakfast chow line in front of me one morning, causing us all to go back to our cells with no food until dinner time. In my 29 years I had never seen a person shoot up before, in my first day in prison I saw 2 guys share the same needle. One was my new bunkie. I saw some talented, intelligent people who had pissed their entire lives away for drugs while I was in there, I saw the walking dead who had sniffed so much paint and done so much pcp they could barely function inside, much less outside. I met a young guy who seemed like a decent person, had a good head on his shoulders, wanted to get back into school and get out and get a job so he could stay out, he got paroled on a Tuesday and was back in by the following Monday, he gave his parole officer a dirty test on his first visit. It cracks me up when I hear these idiots on tv talk about "how good inmates have it in prison, with cable tv, hot meals, a roof over their heads, yadayadayada". Life in prison is pure hell, cable tv or not. I saw men with breasts, rampant gangs, guys with HIV dying slow deaths waiting to get transferred to Vacaville so they could get on med plans, I saw groups of a-holes trading stories of robbing and beating old ladies at ATM machines, mimicking how they would scream and cry as these pieces of crap would tear their rings off their fingers after they took their cash then stomp on their faces, I met the best scrabble player on the planet in there, but I never saw a shank. I suppose by the time you would see the shank it would be too late. I got out in 1994, did 3 years of parole and have never looked back. Oh, don't get me wrong, I have NEVER forgotten my time in San Quentin, that's what rehabilitation is to me, remembering what it was like in there, that was probably the best thing to ever happen to me. I got a job and worked for the same company that gave me a chance in 1995 until the doors closed this past September, 10 years. Sorry about the rant, what was the question again?
 

Pete1977

Gold Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2002
Messages
3,285
Pick-There is a book on ebay, I got one and am waiting for it. It is called:
IMPROVISED WEAPONS IN AMERICAN PRISONS by someone named Lugar I think. I'll tell you how it is when it gets here. stupid media mail:mad:

I've made several homemade knives, from items ranging from table knives, ice picks, plastic, styrofoam, compact discs, a toothbrushes, etc. etc. There are some internet sites that have pics of them, and a lot of them are NOT very sharp or pointed. I'll try and find a few and post the links later,

Pete
 
Joined
Apr 29, 2004
Messages
151
I forgot if it was the discovery ch or history ch but they had a show where a good portion of it was on improvised weapons in prison. I couldve sworn I remember convicts making large stabbing weapons out of layered magazine paper that was somehow hardened and sharpened. There were quite a few other odd ones that I cant remember.
 

rowdy27

BANNED
Joined
Dec 7, 2005
Messages
783
The really violent criminals end up in Maximum Security,solitary or the S.H.U.
Most fights are over $$ for drug/gambling debts inside.
I never saw anything more than boots & fists on my bit.
You mind yer own & don't take nobody's sh!t.
There's a Museum in Kingston, Ontario across from the pen with many ingenious artifacts. They even did a TV show about it.
Shivs were often shoved into someone & snapped-off so they had to operate to remove 'em.
One guy stacked a bunch of picnic tables up against the outer perimeter wall
at Collin's Bay Institution & hopped over to freedom!
Wood shivs were more common than metal.
I could go on for hours...
 
Joined
Sep 28, 2004
Messages
183
Stabbing weapons are the most common. I found one on the yard that was made out of a sharpened center punch that had been filched from the shop. Tool control procedures used to be fairly sloppy years ago.

Inmates are creative in their use of materials. We had a serious stabbing several months ago. The weapon was made from one of the large steel clamps used to hold bundles of documents together. The inmate sharpened one edge and used it as a slashing weapon. It apparently worked well; the inmate nearly bled to death before he could be transported to the hospital.
 
Joined
Sep 18, 2003
Messages
2,389
Take a cheap yellow plastic Bic razor, pull the blades out, the melt the blades into the end of your plastic toothbrush or Bic handle.

Also a two handed screw driver.

Also a pair of scissors. The old cast metal kind with the screw. The screw was pulled out, and each handle wrapped with athletic tape so they had two shivs.

This was all at the county jail.
 

Pilot1

Gold Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2005
Messages
2,103
Jim,

That was really moving and informative. I think I'm going to make my wife read that, especially the part about the thugs at the ATM machine as she is giving me crap about getting her CCW. Glad you made it out and turned it around.
 
Joined
Nov 1, 2005
Messages
27
Jim,

You should write a book. It would be true, unlike recent memoirs, and you can write, brother. Just tell the truth.
 
Joined
Jan 3, 2006
Messages
624
Well, since 1994 I've seen quite a bit of improvised weaponry as a C/O. The most common I see and easiest is the good 'ol lock-in-a-sock. Also most inmates carry spare C batteries for their radios that double as the lock given that if they get stopped with a lock on them that'd be suspicious. The three times I got stabbed, twice was with a shiv made out of pieces of fence and once with a sharpened piece of plexiglass. The most curious one was a machete made out of a steel fan blade that was used to decapitate another inmate... it worked. Inmates will turn everything into a tool or weapon. The only thing they have is time.
 
Joined
Jan 3, 2006
Messages
57
I have an uncle in prison, maybe I could ask him. He's in a minimum security prison and he's only been there for a couple weeks so far so he probably hasn't seen any weapons though.

I posted this link in another thread, it's crossbow built out of paper.
 
Joined
Dec 20, 2005
Messages
79
Jim,

My dad is in prison for his second stint. Iam finally starting to see some turning around in him. I hope it's not a show, but you never know. I make my kids read his letters so they see how much it sucks being incarcerated. I also preach at the local jail here in Anchorage, and it's true, many of them come to the services because it's better than sitting in the cell. You can only rehab someone who wants to improve from where they are and sees their current situation as putrifying as society does.

As far as weapons go, I think a stabing weapon would be easier to improvise than a slicing/cutting weapon, because it is only one piece of material and it only has to have a point, and not a cutting surface. However, If I did anything so stupid as to land in government custody, I would do everything I could to walk the straight and narrow path and get back on my feet. That means disassociating myself from anyone os questionable character and avoiding situations where I would need to defend myself. If you got caught with a weapon, you can forget any good behavior time or parole.

Zac
 
Joined
Nov 13, 2005
Messages
325
there was an article in knives illustrated a few years back on shivs and shanks.i'll have to go through them to get the issue.interesting read
 
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