Attention, Bernie Madoff!

For as long as there have been prisons, there have been prisoners desperate to escape from them. The creative lengths and methods to which they’ll go to attempt to break for it are handsomely displayed, courtesy of photographer Mark Steinmetz.

On his site, Steinmetz shows 24 examples of tools handcrafted by various German inmates, with a brief history into how each one was used. There’s “The Classic”—a rope made out of dish towels and sheets used in a failed attempt in 1998—but of greater fascination are the more inventive creations. Check out the shotgun made from iron bedposts with a charge composed of curtain tape and match heads, which was ignited by AA batteries and a broken light bulb (allowing two men in Celle, Germany, to escape by car in 1984). There’s also a shiv disguised as a wooden crucifix—luckily, never used. Of course, we don’t want people breaking out of jail, but it’s hard not to admire the innovations showcased by Steinmetz.

This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here. Attention, Bernie Madoff!