Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Inmate-made weapons in prison facilities: assessing the injury risk


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

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.