Convict gets additional prison time for possessing 'shanks'

SEATTLE -- A repeat felon already serving an eight-year prison sentence for gun crimes was sentenced Friday to another 27 months after he was found hiding "shanks" in his prison cell.

John Christian Parks was sentenced to eight years behind bars in January for being a felon in possession of firearms. While inside the Federal Detention Center, guards thought they saw a visitor giving Parks some sort of contraband, according to prosecutors. After the visit, Parks appeared to be in a "drugged state," so Parks was put in a special holding area and guards searched his cell.

While looking through a box of papers, guards found two sharpened black metallic objects commonly referred to as "shanks," or homemade weapons, prosecutors say.

Parks pleaded guilty in April to possessing the shanks, and on Friday a judge gave him an additional 27 months of prison time for the offense.

When she handed down the sentence, Chief Judge Marsha J. Pechman said the crime is "very, very significant because it presents such a danger to everyone at the Federal Detention Center - guards and inmates," according to the US Attorney's Office.