Mid-state jail turns to electronic cigarettes to raise money - WSMV News 4

Mid-state jail turns to electronic cigarettes to raise money

Posted: Updated:
LAFAYETTE, TN (WSMV) -

There's a controversial new idea to raise money to fund local jails. At least one other Tennessee jail is already doing it. Come Tuesday, the Macon County sheriff plans to also start selling electronic cigarettes to inmates who crave a smoke.

But some question if it feeds a bigger problem of addiction.

Sheriff Mark Gammons said they plan to be made especially for jail use, so they don't have any sharp edges. Unlike other electronic cigarettes, the ones for the jail can't be recharged. Instead, he said after about 500 puffs, inmates have to buy another. The price tag will be about $13.50 for one.

"Hope I can make $45,000 a year and that profit will be turned in to help pay these guards for being understaffed, underpaid," Gammons said.

It's not just about money. Gammons said one of the hottest items inmates try sneak into the jail is cigarettes. But with the electronic cigarettes program, they can control which inmates get to buy them and when they get their nicotine hit.

"This way anybody that does smoke they have the freedom to buy this," Gammons said. "It will allow them to have some form of cigarette while they are in jail."

But Alex Friedmann, associate director of the Human Rights Defense Center, said feeding an addiction doesn't help public health and safety in the long term.

"I think the fact remains prisoners with other addictions, such as alcohol addiction, the jail is not providing with beer and whiskey," Friedman said. "Prisoners with substance abuse addiction, such as Oxycodone, the jail is not providing them with that."

The American Lung Association in Tennessee also has concerns, along with other health organizations. In a statement, the American Lung Association in Tennessee said in part, "Much is unknown about the impact of e-cigarette use, including the harm to both the user and those exposed to the secondhand vapor."

But for those inside of the jail cell, the chance to buy an electronic cigarette is a welcome change.

"It help us not to bring more contraband into the jail system," Macon County Jail inmate Jorge Benavente said. "It satisfies the sights of the inmates in the back."

Gammons said inmates will only be allowed to use the electronic cigarette in certain areas.

Putnam County already has a similar program in place. Some jails in Kentucky also allow electronic cigarettes as well. But currently state prisons do not allow any tobacco or substitutes.

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. 

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Mayor's proposed $5.2B transit plan includes light rail, downtown tunnel

    Mayor's proposed $5.2B transit plan includes light rail, downtown tunnel

    Wednesday, October 18 2017 5:36 PM EDT2017-10-18 21:36:16 GMT
    Mayor Megan Barry and city officials announced the transit plan on Tuesday morning. (WSMV)Mayor Megan Barry and city officials announced the transit plan on Tuesday morning. (WSMV)

    Nashville Mayor Megan Barry and other city leaders unveiled Music City's long-awaited mass transit plan on Tuesday.

    More >>

    Nashville Mayor Megan Barry and other city leaders unveiled Music City's long-awaited mass transit plan on Tuesday.

    More >>
  • Police: Woman who feared deportation drowned 2 boys

    Police: Woman who feared deportation drowned 2 boys

    Tuesday, October 17 2017 7:08 PM EDT2017-10-17 23:08:38 GMT
    (Wilmington Police Department via AP) This undated photo provided by the Wilmington Police Department shows Kula Pelima. Police in Delaware's largest city have charged Pelima with drowning her infant son and the baby's 5-year-old half brother.(Wilmington Police Department via AP) This undated photo provided by the Wilmington Police Department shows Kula Pelima. Police in Delaware's largest city have charged Pelima with drowning her infant son and the baby's 5-year-old half brother.
    (AP) -- A woman drowned her infant son and his 5-year-old half brother in a bathtub hours after she called police and told them she was worried about being deported, a Delaware police chief said Tuesday. Kula Pelima, a native of Liberia who has lived in the U.S. for two decades, called 911 about 3:45 a.m. Monday, fearing that her visa had lapsed, Wilmington Police Chief Robert Tracy said at a news conference. It's not clear why Pelima was worried. Immigration and Customs Enforcement...More >>
    (AP) -- A woman drowned her infant son and his 5-year-old half brother in a bathtub hours after she called police and told them she was worried about being deported, a Delaware police chief said Tuesday. Kula Pelima, a native of Liberia who has lived in the U.S. for two decades, called 911 about 3:45 a.m. Monday, fearing that her visa had lapsed, Wilmington Police Chief Robert Tracy said at a news conference. It's not clear why Pelima was worried. Immigration and Customs Enforcement...More >>
  • Metro airport authority fires CEO at board meeting

    Metro airport authority fires CEO at board meeting

    Wednesday, October 18 2017 3:36 PM EDT2017-10-18 19:36:03 GMT

    The Metro Nashville Airport Authority Board fired its president and CEO during a meeting on Wednesday afternoon.

    More >>

    The Metro Nashville Airport Authority Board fired its president and CEO during a meeting on Wednesday afternoon.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly
WSMV
Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2017, WSMV; Nashville, TN. (A Meredith Corporation Station) . All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.