We often hear that inmates have nothing but time. Some will work towards bettering themselves when they get out, but others have different things in mind.
Ever since inmate number 5374 stabbed a Nebraska deputy warden to death 100 years ago, protecting staff and other inmates have been top of mind. “Situations change, inmates change."
Because inmates have nothing but time, corrections workers and jailers around the state put in 40 hours a year in the classroom to sharpen their skills at finding weapons behind bars. “This is our most recent collection we have."
Part of the coursework involves a visit to Lincoln with Nebraska Corrections training specialist Susan Phinney. “This one here is something that would easily be held in the palm of the hand."
Many of the confiscated items aren't hidden in a jail cell. “A lot of times they'll hide them in places that are well trafficked, somewhere in the yard and they'll bury them.”
Other weapons seized from inmates include a crutch and padlock and a handcrafted gun replica. “It's always a danger sign if we are finding a lot more. That tells us something could be up."
Not everything seized is a weapon. One contraption would heat water. A book to hide drugs looks straight from the movies and homemade tattoo needles are popular. “Luckily, the majority of weapons we find are prior to them being used and that's the name of the game."
There's no question what a weapon can do in prison, but some goals are bigger, like escaping. “As you look at it you wonder what is all this, pieces of metal. Essentially this is a homemade grappling hook." All it needs is some rope.
A key part of training is physical. Corrections workers learn the latest techniques to staying safe.