Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Dangerous Beauty

Dangerous Beauty: The Art of The Shiv is a collection of prison shivs from New Jersey’s Rahway Prison, now East Jersey State Penitentiary. Fascinating slideshow and notes on construction ranging from the truly simple:
Materials:
Iron band from bed slat bent back and around to form handle.

To the intricately complex:
Materials:
Carriage return from typewriter; U-clamp attached to side; handle wrapped with boxing tape, string, upholstery thread and fragments of dried putty.

Backstory:
By law, prisoners must be provided materials to have an opportunity to prepare their own legal defenses. In the 1980s, typewriters were made available for this purpose: the long, notched "spear" here is the carriage return from a prison-issued typewriter. The handle was wrapped with tape is likely to have been taken from Rahway's boxing facility, where several world-class boxers trained, including Rubin "Hurricane" Carter.

A fascinating look into the kind of improvisation that having no options and nothing to lose can give you.

Via Boing Boing

4 comments:

JD Rhoades said...

Mightier than the sword? No, but more easily concealed...

angie said...

Yep. Humans ingenuity can be quite scary.

Richard said...

I carved a shiv from a bar of soap and used it on the Warden to encourage him to clean up his act.

Stephen Blackmoore said...

Oh. Richard. Did you have to go there? Did you?