Jail Inmates Could Soon Purchase E-Cigarettes

The Knox County Jail will be trying a bit of an experiment next week.

E-Cigarettes will be put on sale at a price of $14 a piece, both as a way to generate revenue and help reduce inmate violence.

The program was learned of at a conference hosted by the National Sheriff’s Association and has been found to be relatively successful in reducing conflicts where the program is in use.

Revenue gained would be put into the Inmate Fund Account – which is used to provide haircuts, shaving tools, and mattresses.

Knox County Sheriff David Clague tells WGIL inmates will be assigned a number that will match the products and could limit territory disputes.

“I think that we’re taking precautionary measures to prevent that,” says Clague. “We even talked about: if they’re inclined to use it, they could probably go back into their cell, close the door, it locks behind them and they could do it in their own cells.”

Providing the E-Cigarettes on-site could also improve safety and reduce the risk of fire.

The program will be tried for 30 days and jail staff will then gauge the interest and behavior of the inmates. Clague tells WGIL smuggling could also be reduced through the program.

“The smuggling in of cigarettes, whether it’s through the mail, whether it’s through the clothing, whether it’s through anything else, it is not illegal, but it is against our policy to have an actual cigarette, cigar for the obvious reason of safety,” says Clague. “With the E-Cigarettes, I’d like to think that would cut back, considerably, the attempts.”

A policy has been developed and circulated outlining the expectations for those jailed.

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