15 Jan 08

On Shanks (Part 3)

“What kinds of circumstances lead to prisoners getting shanked and what’s your advice to a new prisoner?”
“The circumstances include drug debts, plain stupidity, disrespect, or trying to get in the mix with the gangs. My advice is: do your best to stay out of the gangs and things that bring problems, especially drugs.”
“If things have developed to the point where a prisoner suspects he’s about to get shanked, what defensive measures can he take?”
“You take magazines (preferably National Geographic, that’s the best one) and you strap them around your waist using either Saran Wrap or garbage bags, and you tie it on with clothes or whatever works. Saran Wrap out of the kitchen is best. You have to tie it up to cover your middle-torso area. The magazines act like body armour. Then, if you haven’t got big fists, get a big stick, a rock, batteries or a padlock in a sock, or anything else like that you can lay your hands on.”
“Say someone catches you offguard and shanks you in the heart, how long have you got left to live?”
“It’s just a matter of minutes.”
“You touched on how slow it is for the prison to get a prisoner to a hospital. Exactly how slow is it?”
“If they life flight you out, it’s usually at least half an hour. It takes time for them to figure out what’s going on. Then they gotta call for the helicopter. The helicopter has to fly in, land, pick you up, fly out. If they wait for an ambulance it takes a lot longer. Plenty leave on the helicopter and don’t come back. I’ve seen cops leave on the helicopter and not come back, and they get the helicopter here a whole lot faster for the cops.”
“How common are shankings in the prison system?”

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Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood


Anonymous said...


Great to see you touch on the subject. Thing is, it is very difficult to stay away from the gangs, or risk being subject to becoming a victim. However, it can be done. Especially on a level 1 or 2 yard where the pressure isn't that big of a deal, and everyone is on short time. I was one of the few in Corcoran, that was not a gang member, but I had the full support of the Southerners. His advice is right on point. STAY away from the drugs. They will front you the dope on credit, expecting cash or cantine items. If you don't pay up you WILL be hit. The other best advice. MIND YOUR BUSINESS. NEVER mingle in the affairs of others. It is all but garanteed problems.

Anonymous said...

Breaking the posts up is really really f*cking annoying. Especially when you split it at a question like a cheap soap opera...

But it's your blog I guess.

Sue O. (aka Joannie, SS) said...

Seems like the message is, anything can be made into a weapon and you will be hit if someone has a mind to hit you. My son has commented on the weirdness of prison measures trying to prevent the making of weapons, like toothbrushes so small you may as well use your fingers and pens with no barrels so you can't write with them. His latest frustration is no pork or ham because of the size of the supposed Muslim population where he is incarcerated. Another example of the contorted measures taken to keep inmates from harming themselves or others, which will probably lead to that by default.

Keep up the good writing...somehow you manage to keep us all in suds.

Anonymous said...

it is called a cliffhanger

Anonymous said...

To Liam,

Some of the blogs are long, and take a long time to type up. So thay're posted in parts.


Anonymous said...

Of course it varies from prison to prison but the first comment says that you cannot avoid gangs unless you somehow get the backing of one of them while not joining. How is it that "Jon" was able to survive a level 4 yard and even maximum without joining or getting backing? How would backing work anyway (anybody please feel free to answer that)?

Jon said...

You learn how to play along with the gang rules over time, joining requires violence and murder, not everybody joins, but you learn to play along