LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. (WVLT/WYMT) -- Tobacco products are banned in Kentucky jails, and some jail officials find this makes their jobs more difficult, WYMT reports.
Laurel County Jailer Jamie Mosley came up with an innovative solution. He invented the Crossbar - an e-cigarette designed to be safe for inmates. HBO's VICE News interviewed Mosley about his creation.
"I was just trying to solve a problem within my own facility," said Mosley.
In the interview, Mosley said the ban on tobacco is hard for jailers because some inmates are coming off drugs and cigarettes at the same time, which can cause problems for jail officials and inmates alike.
"It's nerve-racking," Laurel County inmate Joshua Wagers told VICE News. "You can imagine going from smoking two packs of cigarettes on the street to nothing."
To counteract this problem Mosley designed the Crossbar, which he said cannot be used as a shank or as an ignition source. The e-cigarette is now available in 33 prisons and jails nationwide, and Mosley's company is expected to make $3.5 million in sales this year.
Crossbar e-cigs are sold to jails for $2-3 each, and then some jails sell them to inmates for $10-15 each. Mosley told VICE News he sells them to inmates at cost and puts the money back towards inmate welfare.
"It's a tool, and it was designed for the benefit of the facilities," said Mosley. "And if it helps them to cooperate and keep my officers safer, I think that that's a win-win for everybody."