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:
Iron band from bed slat bent back and around to form handle.

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

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


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?