Delaware Co. looking to add e-cigarette program for inmates

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DELAWARE COUNTY, Ind. (Aug. 19, 2015) - The Delaware County Sheriff's Department is looking into a new program that would bring e-cigarettes into the jail.

Counties adjacent to Delaware County, including Jay County, already has an e-cigarette program available to inmates. Officials there say that program is already showing success.

Sheriff Ray Dudley said currently, the jail is at 270 inmates, which is maximum capacity. He said out of those 270, 80 percent of them smoke. Sheriff Dudley said a possible e-cigarette program would likely be used by many inmates.

“Anytime you have somebody’s that’s been a smoker up until the time they come into jail and then you take that privilege away from them, they act out," Sheriff Dudley said.

He said the e-cigarette program would work on a merit based system. Inmates would be rewarded for good behavior with the privilege to use e-cigarettes. Inmates could purchase the e-cigarettes through commissary funds. The e-cigarettes would run more than five dollars a piece and last about the same length as two packs of normal cigarettes.

The e-cigarettes Delaware County is looking to purchase are specifically designed for inmate use. They are not available to the general public.

Sheriff Dudley said they have tested them to make sure they cannot be destroyed or distorted.

"We’ve actually broke them apart and made sure that there’s no way you could use them for any sort of a heat source or stick them into an electrical socket and use them," he said.

The decision to implement the program is up to the discretion of the sheriff. He said right now, he's still talking to county leaders and getting the public's opinion.

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