8 real and lethal prisoner-made shivs

Confiscated from prisons in Northern California

This is a collection of actual shivs confiscated by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and captured on film by photographer James Sime.

You can see more of Sime's work by visiting his photostream on Flickr.com.

DESIGN: Re-enforced chickenwire glass attached to a duct tape handle.


DESIGN: Sharpened prison toothbrush with knitted handle


DESIGN: The classic sharpened toothbrush.


DESIGN: According to a CDCR officer, this sharpened toothbrush handle is at least 30 years old. The officer judged this based on the color of the plastic handle, which hasn't been used in California for several decades.


DESIGN: 8 and 1/2 inch length of straightened jail fence, with a bit of rubber glove from the kitchen for the "handle."


DESIGN: This was made as a demonstration for an officer, which is likely why it isn't very sharp. This is 25 pages of rolled National Geographic, soaped & salted into a weapon. It can be disposed of by unrolling it and flushing it down the toilet.


DESIGN: Re-enforced chickenwire glass with a duct tape and rolled newspaper handle.


DESIGN: This toothbrush shiv has a handle made from what is likely a piece of bedsheet secured with a thick round rubberband material that may be the band of a rubber glove.


DESIGN: This is not a shiv but a tattoo rig made from a straightened staple, a piece of a jumpsuit to hold the ink, rubberglove to secure the staple, and a Paper Mate medium point pen.


DESIGN: Though also not a shiv, this last photo is worth including. It is a toothpaste tube crackpipe. Sime says that, though you can't tell from this particular picture, the pipe has definitely been used for crack as it has been heated from below as opposed to above.

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