LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – Contraband is an issue that has plagued jails across the world.
Would you believe one of the biggest black-market items wanted in jail is an item people use on a daily basis?
Behind the chain linked fences and closed doors, inmates at the Lauderdale County Detention Center will do most anything to light up.
“They’ve been known to pick up grass clippings off the exercise yard and try to smoke them,” Jail Administrator Jackie Keenum explained. “They’ll smoke pepper. Anything they can.”
Keenum said 90% of all items brought in from the outside for illegal resale to inmates are cigarettes.
“There is no holds barred when it comes to how we can get a cigarette. Contraband cigarettes have been known to go as high as 30 and 40 dollars a pack,” stated Keenum.
As technology has evolved, so also has the electronic cigarette market.
A former Kentucky jailer has developed a jail friendly electronic cigarette.
Keenum is pushing her county commissioners to resale these cigarettes to inmates, to not only cut down on contraband, but discipline issues.
“Well hopefully they will cut out the necessity for all the contraband,” explained Keenum. “If they can openly get a cigarette they’re not going to get in trouble for, because they lose privileges and things like that when they do get caught, hopefully that will put a stop to that.”
Keenum said there are no issues with second-hand smoke or with inmates destroying them to make weapons.
If approved by the county commission, Lauderdale County inmates would be able to purchase them through the commissary supplier.
According to Keenum, they would cost around $10 and are equivalent to two-and-a-half packs of cigarettes.