Vaping e-cigs in jail should continue, says Henderson Co. Jailer

Published: Jul. 11, 2017 at 10:34 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 21, 2017 at 6:39 PM CDT
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HENDERSON, KY (WFIE) - Henderson County Jailer Amy Brady wants the city commission to reconsider the recently amended smoking ordinance.

The new rule, which was passed in June, bans people from using electronic cigarettes inside public places within city limits, which includes the jail.

Jailer Brady says if they have to stop selling the correctional e-cigs to inmates, they'll lose a lot of funding for resources.

But, Brady says, it's really not about the money.

"It's used as a leverage tool," Brady told us. "You can take those away from people that do not obey the rules and cause trouble. Or, you can give them as a reward for those who are trying to help and want to better themselves," she said.

Brady took us inside the jail and asked a large group of inmates how many use the correctional e-cigs. Dozens raised their hand in response.

We're told almost every inmate arrives with an addiction to nicotine.

That's why Henderson County Detention Center leaders are hoping inmates will be able to continue vaping the special e-cigs, which are made specifically for correctional facilities. The tool contains nicotine, but it doesn't allow the user to pack any substance in the product.

We're told inmates can purchase the e-cigs for about $13 and in this past fiscal year, the jail sold over 16,000.

Brady also explained, vaping improves inmate morale, and helps reduce conflicts.

"We saw it on the news when they passed the ban for the city ordinance," said Anthony Kern, an inmate who vapes. "We were a nervous wreck thinking they were going to quit selling them here because they do help keep the tension down."

"You actually hardly even notice it," commented Michael Ginnett, an inmate who doesn't vape. "Actually, there's a scent that's kind of even pleasant to it."

Brady also says selling the e-cigs to inmates helps generate revenue that directly funds vital resources, like its inmate substance abuse program.

We will update this story as we learn more.

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