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Sirius Black and a few Death Eaters escape Azkaban and seem to operate after that with their wands intact.

How come?

If a mere expulsion from Hogwarts entails wand destruction (as happened with Hagrid), shouldn't an Azkaban sentence entail the same?

And even if we imagine that the perceived impossibility of escape from Azkaban made it seem unnecessary to destroy the wand, this would apply to Sirius but not to Death Eaters.

PS: Two comments suggested that the escapees acquired new wands. It would be nice to have a more definitive answer than just a suggestion or a list of possibilities. Thanks.

PPS: Returning the personal property to a released prisoner is one thing, but the wand is a different matter: this is usually the tool of the crime, and I don't see how it can be argued that it should be returned and not destroyed. Again, Hagrid had his wand destroyed and he was not even sentenced to Azkaban.

PPPS: Maybe wand destruction is only done for non-fully-qualified wizards?

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Well, Hagrid managed to do a whole lot of magic for being someone who shouldn't have had a wand. I'm sure Sirius and a few other folks could find a way. And who says it's necessarily their original wand, and not a replacement? Ollivander's may be the best for crafting a wizard's first wand, but I'm sure they could get a cheap replacement at, say, the galleon store. – Zibbobz Aug 29 '14 at 18:05
I think this question is basically going to be a list of opinions. However, at least in the US, when you go into a jail they take all your personal possession and store them. When you are released after serving your time, you get them all back. The logical place to store these wands would be the Ministry, which was basically under DE control, assuming that they follow the same protocols. – JohnP Aug 29 '14 at 18:14
In the movies, at least, Lucius's wand seems to be the exact same cane/wand before and after his time in Azkaban, so it doesn't seem he just got a new one. – Anduril_1251 Aug 29 '14 at 18:18
in the books i believe we have no proof that any of them have their original wands, so unless they gave them up or wernt using their "main" wands when they were captured i would assume they were destroyed, especially since they were in prison for life. Now to me a better question is, how does Voldemort actually have his real wand in book 4, as he should have left it inside of the potters house. – Himarm Aug 29 '14 at 18:21
@Himarm: How did Voldemort get his wand back? – sds Aug 29 '14 at 18:24
up vote 14 down vote accepted

Not all sentences to Azkaban are life sentences. Igor was released for selling out other Death Eaters. Hagrid was released after it was proven that he wasn't involved in the Chamber of Secrets incidents. Sturgis Podmore served six months for breaking into the Ministry of Magic. Morfin Gaunt originally served 3 years, but was later framed for murder and sentenced to life. Presumably, all of these people received their wands back upon release (except for Hagrid, who didn't officially have a wand).

It is not uncommon for prisons to keep the things a prisoner had on them when they were captured, and then to return them to them upon their release (or hold items of value for the prisoner). Even those serving life sentence may have personal property that is stored until the time of their death. It is then typically released to next of kin. Since Voldemort orchestrated the breakout of Azkaban prison and had the compliance of the Dementors, if their wands were on the premises, they would be available to them.

Bellatrix Lestrange definitely got back her original wand. As Hermione says:

"But that’s my point! This is the wand that tortured Neville's mum and dad, and who knows how many other people? This is the wand that killed Sirius! I miss my wand." - Deathly Hallows

The events of Neville's mum and dad were before she was locked away.

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what about Sirius? – sds Aug 29 '14 at 18:29
I agree with the answer, but how could she know that that really is the same wand Bellatrix used? The second half of the quote is reasonable because that was after the escape, but isn't the first half just an assumption? – Anduril_1251 Aug 29 '14 at 19:46
Yeah but I think it's missing the point of the question in that we understand conceptually why a generic prisoner would get his or her wand back, but in a world where Hagrid gets his wand destroyed for being suspected of a crime, how is Bellatrix's still intact? – Scott Aug 30 '14 at 0:41
Bellatrix did have a life sentence in Azkaban, so it seems somewhat shortsighted that they didn't break her wand. (Besides which, respect for personal property doesn't seem particularly important to Azkaban, given that their guards actively feed on the emotions of prisoners) – David Robinson Aug 30 '14 at 1:06
Hagrid was expelled from Hogwarts, presumably no other school would ever admit him, and his parents were dead, so he could not be home-schooled. He could never become a qualified wizard. That's why his wand was destroyed. Also, I assume you get kinder treatment from the wizarding justice system if you're rich and pureblood, instead of a poor, half-giant orphan. Rowling made it clear that the wizarding establishment was incredibly corrupt pre-Voldemort's defeat. – Jayraj Aug 30 '14 at 6:37

The difference between a prison holding belongings for a prisoner when they are released and having the prisoner escape is that the escapee does so in secret and cannot gain their possessions back. For the escapees in the fifth book, we can assume their belongings were turned back over to them because the dementors had aligned with Voledmort- so while it was reported by the paper/ministry to be an escape, it was not the same kind of escape as say, Sirius or Croutch Jr. For Sirius, a true escapee of Azkaban, however this question is still a mystery.

My theory is that for Sirius, Dumbledore helped him get back and repair his wand, as the Elder Wand was the only thing powerful enough to repair a wand. Wands are buried with their masters, so it's doubtful that Sirius would have a family members, and he probably wouldn't want to even if he had the option.

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