As of June 2017 in Henderson, Kentucky, local regulations ban smoking and vaping from all public buildings. Currently, that includes the jail which is within Henderson city limits. Henderson County Jailer Amy Brady is asking for an exemption to allow inmates to have electronic cigarettes and vape inside their quarters. A couple of years ago, we reported on Tennessee jails that found allowing inmates to vape reduced conflict incidents.
The jail facility reports that the vast majority of inmates, practically all of them we are told, have a nicotine addiction. Electronic cigarettes may help avoid nicotine withdrawal symptoms that could lead to short tempers and conflicts. Helping to reduce potential conflicts is just one of the reasons Brady is seeking an exemption.
The jail has been selling electronic cigarettes to inmates for some time and using the money for substance abuse programs. They sell for $13 each and are a special ecig made for correctional facilities.
Henderson Jail Uses Ecigs As Rewards
Allowing inmates to vape and have access to electronic cigarettes has other benefits as well. For example, Brady says that access to vaping can be used as leverage to demand better behavior. If someone violates a jail rule, the e-cigs can be withheld.
Likewise, access to electronic cigarettes can be used as a motivation for inmates to improve their lives. For example participating in education programs or training. Perhaps volunteering for productive goals. Brady says that the promise of access to an e-cigarette helps her in this regard. That may seem like carrot and stick but ultimately the goal is not strictly to punish but for inmates to leave jail with more skills for coping and for life in general so they may be less likely to end up back in jail.
Will Henderson County Jail get an exemption? We will find out soon. Brady makes a compelling argument and we hope the City of Henderson will properly consider the request.