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November 30, 2015

Last year, I wrote about getting into some “traffic jams” on the yard, some near “wrecks,” and about going to “the hole” for possession of a weapon. I also wrote that this led to a criminal case, and in the end, another 32 months were added to my sentence. I griped that it was B.S., an easy conviction for the D.A. and blah, blah, blah. Anyway, I just had the write-up adjudicated and lost my dayroom for 90 days (as if the hole time and the additional 32 months wasn’t enough punishment), so I’ve been having trouble getting on the phone and keeping in touch with my loved ones.

That weapon, a 4” x .5” x .5” sharpened piece of steel sure has cost me—it’s the price of living like a cowboy. No way I can beat the system. At the time, I was doing a lot of dope, making a lot of enemies, and that was on top of the usual racial tensions and all that, so having a knife just seemed the right thing to do.

Anyway, I though you might be curious about what a prison shank might look like. First, I folded the metalScan 26, so it wouldn’t bend or break, then I beat it with a rock to round out the time (I also used a huge fan motor). I did this against the back wall, because it was too loud on the floor. Once the tip folded over making the knife even more durable, I scraped it in long arcs on the floor and the wall to hone the tip and sides into a very sharp point and edge. The picture here was the final outcome. For a prison knife, this was pretty good. Wrap some cloth around the bottom to hold onto or even wax a couple inches of bolded cardboard to extend the length and make a handle, and it is ready to go.

Inmates also sharpen up fan rotors, pieces of wood, pieces of metal that can be torn off from wherever, and if enough metal is taken, it must be hidden well, because when a guard notices it is gone, the yard will get searched. Inmates also use pens and pencils to stab with. I even heard of someone who used a sharpened popsicle stick. Inmates use whatever they can get their hands on: broken T.V. screen from the old style T.V.s with glass screens, plastic from the new T.V.s, melted and folded plastic from CD cases. The ingenuity of people doesn’t end. Whether it is knives or fire or sewing needles, we can make them.

I’m done making knives; the cost is too great. This wasn’t my first, but it is my last. Sometimes, I think about the guy I was going to stab. I’d say we were both lucky I got caught with the knife before I could do him harm.


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