Beyond shivs and shanks: A look at lesser-known prison weapons
Lock in a Sock
One of the more dangerous easy-to-make prison weapons is a lock in a sock.
In many correctional systems — including New York State — prisoners are assigned lockers to hold their belongings and, since it’s prison, there are locks.
In high school, the only threat clunky combination locks pose is that you might not be able to open them properly, but in prison they can be a pretty dangerous weapon.
When shoved into the bottom of a sock, a lock can be used to administer a pretty good beating.
Strategically it makes a good weapon because neither the lock nor the sock is contraband, so would-be prison bullies don’t have to worry about getting caught with items they’re not supposed to have.
While some facilities use metal silverware for meals, others play it safer with plastic cutlery. But, even plastic can be made into a weapon — and one that has been known to draw blood.
With sufficient determination, a plastic spoon can be chewed into a sharp-ish point and used in a shank-like fashion.
Sadly, this is not a typo. In New York’s state prisons, one way that women occasionally rid themselves of unwanted bunkies or problematic people on the unit is to leave a hot, steamy present on the bunk.
Typically, if one inmate is a problem, just politely asking that they be reassigned to another housing area doesn’t work. While getting in a fight will get the unwanted individual moved, it also tends to land both combatants in solitary.
A poop present, however, is more anonymous but yet equally effective in eliciting a housing reassignment.
Arguably the most dangerous weapons in the arsenal, planted pills can start world of trouble for the victim.
Inmates found with contraband drugs can typically expect to be thrown in solitary confinement, but in theory they can also face additional criminal charges. Both of those things typically lead to more time behind bars; inmates who get in trouble a lot don’t usually make their parole board.
That means that planting drugs — or any other contraband — in someone’s cell or slipping it in the slot of their locked locker can be one of the strongest and most unequivocally evil weapons there is in prison. After all, the one thing everyone behind bars holds sacred above most anything else is the possibility of getting out.
Jolly Ranchers are sweet and colorful, but they can also be dangerous.
It is possible to melt down Jolly Ranchers and remold them as a sharp weapon.
It’s not the best weapon option because candy-sharp tips break easily and it requires a lot of Jolly Ranchers — and a lot of time at the hot plate — to put together enough layers even for a short-lived shiv.
Given those limitations, they aren’t the most commonly used prison weapon, but they can, in theory, be used as weapons.
For the most part, though, their sculpting possibilities are reserved for less harmful artistic pursuits. Around the holidays, Jolly Ranchers mini-wreaths pop up as a festive, edible decoration.