Jails considering sale of e-cigs to inmates

Types of e-cigarettes

E-cig companies have a new target. Certain companies have started reaching out to jails to start selling the popular product to inamtes. Some rural jails are considering or starting to sell the electronic cigarettes saying it will help calm inmates and generate revenue for the jail. However, here in the Panhandle, Potter and Randall County have decided to opt out.

â??Iâ??m going to wait and see what results others have,â?? said Joel W. Richardson, Randall County Sheriff. â??Iâ??m not going to tell you that I would never allow it, because at some point I might but right now the answer is just no. Iâ??m not going to do it.â??

Sheriff Richardson said that the jail cut out smoking back in the 1980â??s when inmates were trying to smuggle in drugs. Now, with tobacco cut off, the inmates put all their concentration into smuggling in tobacco. And since thatâ??s a policy violation, but not illegal, itâ??s preferable between the two.

The idea was pitched to Potter County about a year ago. However, they said they all agreed it was not something they were going to partake in because of medical reasons.

â??The main reason is due to the fact that itâ??s still a drug. Itâ??s nicotine,â?? said David Johnson, Chief Deputy for the Potter County Sheriffâ??s Office. â??We donâ??t really know what it will cause since itâ??s so new but you are still having chemicals introduced to your body. Nicotine is addictive and weâ??re not going to help with any kind of addiction in our facility.â??

However, advocates for the use of e-cigs said that it could help the inmates who are cut off from tobacco while incarcerated to curb their withdrawals and smoking habit.

â??Itâ??s like withdrawal from anything. But on the vapor pin, you can come down, and you can step down your nicotine level and you can go from say 24, step down to 18, step down to 12, step down to 6 and down to zero and you can actually vape and not have any nicotine at all,â?? said Russell Anglen, owner of the Great E-Vape.

Anglen believes the e-cigs could help the inmates tremendously since it will still give them the nicotine without the tobacco use. However, according to Sheriff Richardson, the jails who have been trying it have not seen any good results.

â??There have been a lot of fights,â?? said Richardson.

However, Richardson did say that if he finds that the sale of the e-cigs could be a source of revenue for the county, he might reconsider. However, he also said that no amount of revenue is worth any additional problems in the jail.