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Inmate-made weapons in prison facilities: assessing the injury risk
  1. J M Lincoln1,
  2. L-H Chen1,
  3. J S Mair1,
  4. P J Biermann2,
  5. S P Baker1
  1. 1Center for Injury Research and Policy, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA
  2. 2Johns Hopkins University, Applied Physics Lab, Laurel, MD, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr J Lincoln
 Center for Injury Research and Policy, 624 N Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA; jlincoln{at}jhsph.edu

Abstract

More than 2400 correctional workers in the United States required medical attention in 1999 following assaults by inmates, often with unconventional “homemade” weapons. Little information is available about these weapons. The authors surveyed 101 state prisons for a 12 month period within 2002–03, and 70 responded. A total of 1326 weapons were either confiscated (1086) or used to injure inmates (203) or staff (37). Staff were most often attacked with clubs. The prison store was the most common source of materials used to make confiscated weapons. Issued items were the most common source of materials used to make weapons to injure staff. The injury rate for staff was 1.0/1000 workers per year. The annual cost of injuries for time lost and medical care for staff was estimated at $1,125,000 in these 70 prisons. Results identify materials that should be redesigned to prevent modifications to make weapons. Prison stores and issued items deserve special attention.

  • JHU/APL, Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University
  • assaults
  • weapons
  • inmates
  • occupational injuries

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Footnotes

  • This research was funded under grant #2002-IJ-CX-K017 from the Department of Justice to the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and in part by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Center for Injury Prevention, and Control Grant #CCR302486.

  • Competing interests: none.

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