Local Jail Going Smoke Free

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Jefferson County (WVLT) The Jefferson County Justice Center has a new policy when it comes to tobacco products.

Volunteer TV's Kim Bedford has more on the policy.

The entire premises, jail included, is now tobacco free.

That means no cigarettes, cigars or chew for inmates, employees and anyone who steps foot in or around the center.

David Davenport, the Jefferson County Sheriff says, "unfortunately people that smoke throw cigarette butts down or if they chew tobacco, they spit."

Sheriff Davenport says they want to keep their brand new 16 million dollar facility looking and smelling brand new.

"We'd constantly be picking up cigarette butts, trying to get out of doing that."

The tobacco-free policy applies to everyone.
"Everybody, everyone."

Davenport wonders "if it's tougher on the inmates or some of the employees."

But it doesn't have to be cold turkey.

"We even offered to give them the nicotine patches and gum and things like that to acclimate them."

And if they don't comply, Davenport says, "more or less we just ask them to quit and move and of course if it's one of my employees I could hand out my own discipline, but we've got our security staff on alert."

Davenport says inmates will have a tough time sneaking in a smoke.

"Our smoke detectors are so sensitive that if they smoke back there, they set them off."

And an even harder time getting tobacco with the no-contact video visitation centers.

"It keeps the contraband down. It keeps cigarettes from being smuggled in."

There are reminders posted all over the grounds for visitors.

Davenport says this is a healthy policy that everyone will have to get used to.

"I'm not a doctor, but I'm sure it can't hurt them. This is a good way to make them break their habits. I always say, if you don't like it, don't come back."

Inmates recently moved into the new jail.

Right now its holding 142, with a capacity of 188, and completely smoke free.

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