Electronic cigarettes are taking over the inside of county jails around East Tennessee. Greene County sheriff Steve Burns added electronic cigarettes to the jail commissary on September 16th.
Selling e-cigarettes in jails is a tactic used to lower the number of cigarettes being smuggled in. Also, any profits made go into the jail general fund. They sell close to 20 e-cigarettes a day at 10 dollars a cigarette.
Corrections officer Jason Armstrong sells e-cigarettes to the inmates. The first order had 100 e-cigarettes. Armstrong said those sold quickly, spurring a second order three times the size. They have sold more than 500 e-cigarettes since September.
Armstrong and Burns both hope to see contraband cigarettes on the decline because of the e-cigarettes.
"The most important thing to us is our staff and workload on our staff. It this helps ease some of that, most jails are understaffed anyway," said Burns.
Claiborne County began selling the e-cigarettes three months ago. Lieutenant Larry Martin says this helped ease frustration between inmates that would lead to fights. They say they sell close to three dozen e-cigarettes every day. All of the profits from sales go directly back into the jail, like they do in Greene County.