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Monday, March 29, 2010

Urban Survival Planning - Handling Prisoners

The possibility exists the sometime after a collapse that you or your survival group may have to handle prisoners. Especially in an Urban Survival Environment, the chances of you detaining people intending on stealing from you or killing you for your supplies is very high due to the population density and the percentage of criminal elements in urban areas.

Your Urban Survival Plan should have method planned on dealing with prisoners or people you detain. Where you will keep them. How they will be secured. How you plan on releasing them or otherwise getting the burden of controlling these prisoners off your hands. There may be a case where you need to restrain someone who claims to be someone until you can verify their claims or what we call "bonafides".

You may also be required to safely restrain a member of your Urban Survival Group if they "go nuts" during what has got to be the exceptionally trying times after a collapse.

The U.S. Army's method for Prisoner Handling: Search, Segregate, Silence, Speed and Safeguard. Are a good starting point to develop you and your Urban Survival Group's operating procedure for handling detainees or prisoners.

Before the 5 "S's" are implemented, the subjects must be restrained. Do not ever search an non-restrained prisoner. Other than field expedient wire ties, rope, cable or chain, the best way to restrain someone is with Commercial Flex Cuffs or Handcuffs. You must buy quality items here. I prefer Smith & Wesson cuffs - carried them for years without any problems. The cuffs must be double locking to be shim proof.

ASP-USA makes good flex cuffs, the version shown in the picture are probably the best for novice users and provide good restraint on prisoners.

Search . Search for weapons head to toe. Search with one person while another observes ready to intercede if a problem occurs. Search the clothing items, footwear, hair,....everywhere. Almost made a Doctor Suess Rhyme.

Segregate. This means to separate the prisoners. This is so you can interview/interrogate each one without the group of prisoners getting their story straight.

Silence. Do not allow the prisoners to talk to each other. Do not allow for members of your Urban Survival Group to talk to the prisoners. Well trained people can elicit critical and sensitive information from your people.

Speed. Refers to the military's priority on "speeding" the prisoners to a detention facility for the safety for all and the exploitation of any information the prisoners may have. Speed to your Urban Survival Group may mean speeding these prisoners to be a better or secure location so that chances of escape or damage to your group is lessened.

Safeguard. Safeguard means keeping the prisoners safe - you have a morale obligation to do so, however it also means safeguarding information about your Urban Survival Group, Survival Gear and Equipment you have on hand, how your defenses are arrayed, etc.

The scope of this post is not to develop a protocol for handling prisoners after this. As far as how they are released or turned over to competent authority is up to you. Our suggestion is to wargame the options and choose the one with the least amount risk to your Urban Survival Group.


  1. The main area where you will have problems/deficiency is in the SEARCH area. Even trained officers miss very basic hiding spots. Basic places such as the "small" pocket of your Levis/inseam of a belt/hats/ inside of shoes. REMOVE ALL shoe laces and belts!!!! And watches, the little buckle on a watch can be used to pry off containment devices. COVER THE EYES preferably with duck tape. Thus taking away thier ability to see when they are alone to make an escape. DO NOT cover the mouth /nose with tape it could lead to asfixia.

  2. Used those flexi-cuffs in Afghanistan, they work well. Also we used heavy duty zipties looped through each other when the hi-speed ones weren't availible, never had a problem. keeping even one prisoner for longer than a few hours is going to be problematic though...


  4. Take out the ones who appear to be a serious threat to the orderly running of the group. They will take you out at the first opportunity. Supervise the others closely until you are sure that they pose no serious threat with the understanding that they will be dealt with severly if need be.

  5. Kill them all let god sort them out!!!!

  6. I would definitely make an example out of them to prevent them from letting others notify anyone else about our group. hang as sign around their neck saying they were thieves and then hang them live from a tall pole by their arms so that they are slowly starved to death and at the same time an example to others that might try to rob you. Make sure you gag them so they can not call out to anyone else for help.

  7. Most of you guys have no empathy whatsoever. the only people you should kill are the ones who are trying to kill you. If they are harmless people just scavenging, let them live OR make them do manual labor, like farming crops. If you cannot do the latter, then kill them in the quickest way possible, not torture them.

  8. Females may be useful

  9. If they are trying to steal from you or kill you....KILL THEM! Keeping those people as prisoners is just a hassle and could be dangerous for yourself or others when you should be pulling security shifts rather than having to watch and take care of these bastards. Just shoot'em!