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Handcuffs and Manacles Used in Escape Challenges

Just a few possibilities in handcuff escapes. On stage the handcuffs are gimmicked or a key is used to open the devices. For irons they may be padlocked or bolted - a key or wrench is needed to release if not gimmicked. Max does not gimmick his stage show props.

Reference to prisoner punishments are found in many books. Reality of how prisoners were treated was not clearly documented however ideas from books gives way to imagined punishments and possible escape challenges. Remember there are risks of injury in attempting most escapes or use of restraints. Those entering the escape artist hobby should be cautious and ensure they are well trained before attempting new escapes.

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For most escape artists this handcuff is the most common position used for stage show escapes with or without the belly transport chain..
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The bar cuff with key holes facing up the arm is not escapable with the belly chain unless trying with mechanical devices and mirrors. But  easy to say, just not going to happen.
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The Hiatt wide bar cuff with key holes up the arm is a no go with or without keys.
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These knock off Pakistan Darby lock are temperamental getting the key to work
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It can be done with the key hole facing up the arm but it is very difficult to do and flexible arms are essential
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No go here not only a bar  cuff but back of hands facing each other. - The police regulation position for all prisoners

 

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Max's idea of a perfect metal Christmas Tree - just some of the metal props used in his escapes
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Where security is at its highest the Hiatt barcuff is used with back of wrists facing each other. A no escape with or without key with hands behind the back. Still Max will try out all kinds of cuffs  to see if he can escape.
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Going beyond the typical handcuff and leg iron use on prisoners. Max tries to escape varying positions while standing. A dark side in prison punishments might include a prisoner cuffed standing and fixed to a wall. It takes less than 30 minutes for most to experience difficulties in most standing positions. Max considers this a potential escape challenge for the stage especially the added fist mitts keeping hands from easily accessing the lock mechanisms. The prisoner standing punishment called the "Vestibule " was an all day torment to correct prisoners at Alcatraz
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The standing spreadeagle is more about stage show challenges. How to escape a handcuff in this position is very difficult . Max has yet to master a quick release with a key. This on stage would certainly require a gimmicked handcuff
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Max experienced a long term restraint as could have been used on prisoners in solitary confinement. Max found it very comfortable and added the drysuit, fist mitts and hood  to make it a sensory deprivation experience for 10 hours. If this appears bizarre understand that in prisons this position was a common practice as a punishment, including a hood and fist mitts. The only difference in prison solitary, the prisoner would have no clothes.
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Keeping with the prison themes and the escape challenges Max is at MCF to try and escape some of the irons that are similar to those used in some prisons even today. Hands are in front which is normal for minor punishment. The smile says it all a Max was easily able to get out of the manacles
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Given Max escaped the first time, staying with standard protocol prisoner security and interrogation Max has a cloth bag hood (the interrogation hood used is common. Max makes a few styles although as pictured it is an older classic US mail bag.) And the guard made sure there were no hidden keys this time.
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Not common practice in correctional facilities but Max tried out a padlocked leather restraint hood instead of the bag and this time the hood is locked to a wall bolt behind the head. Normally the cloth or leather bag hood would be used with a steel collar padlocked to the wall bolt. This was more widely used in interrogations. The leather hood was used in prisons as an advanced punishment in solitary and would typically include the prisoner hog tied on the floor. (as seen in other parts of the web site)
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Zerotsm demonstrates the typical prison hog tie punishment at MCF with ankles attached to wall however in real life pillows were not provided. It should be noted that the hogtie is a dangerous restraint position for many where it can cause suffocation. Many prisoners who are hog tied in police vehicles die each year from suffocation causes range from physical and medical disabilities to improper use of restraints.
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Max tries some prisoner punishments in a neoprene head to toes suit. With hands not covered it seemed too easy to figure out how to release the ankle manacles with hands free. With the fist mitts then there was no way to undo the manacles
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Using a bar cuff manacle as used in the 18th century made escape impractical with the fist mitts, however Max tried several punishments taken from books on prisoner restraints in the 17 and 18th century,
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A standing punishment that might not end well in the old days. It is written but not confirmed that prisoners were tortured when restrained in such a position. Gruesome really if so.
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The hands behind collared and chained was often used in solitary in the past according to some. We visited East State Penitentiary and found one of the few places that every cell was solitary confinement and for the worst offences there were two basement prison cells where the prisoner was severely abused in restraints.
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The spreadeagle seems to have less publicity than other punishments but it seemed to exist in earlier prison days than more recent. This example Max was easily able to escape with the leather cuffs.
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