Smoking Ban Looms at County Jails - cigspriced
The word from the slammer is that cigarettes are about to be outlawed Marlboro Cigarettes
, and the inmates are restless.
Sheriff Sherman Block is expected to unveil a plan today to make Los Angeles County jail facilities tobacco-free by the end of the year. "I've already had one of my clients complaining about it," Deputy Public Defender Stanley Shimotsu said Tuesday. "For guys with nothing else to do but smoke, something like this spreads like an ill wind."
Sheriff's officials, anticipating Block's announcement, declined to comment on the specifics of the proposal, including whether the ban would also apply to jailers and other staff at the county's 10 detention facilities.
But some deputies who smoke and who are assigned to jail duty conceded having the jitters about the new restrictions.
"We don't know exactly what it is he's proposing," said a deputy at the Men's Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles. "Whatever it is, I just hope it doesn't interfere with my cigarette breaks."
Anti-smoking advocates said they welcome any curbs.
"It's definitely a progressive move," said Debbie Kelley, an official with the American Lung Assn., who has advised inmates how to kick the habit in several cities where jailhouse smoking bans were imposed.
Others, however, said restrictions on tobacco use would be unfair.
"It's one thing to ban smoking in the workplace where an employee can walk outside and take a puff," said Mel Tennenbaum, a supervising attorney in the county Public Defender's Office Cigarette Tobacco For Sale
. "But if you tell smokers behind bars they can't smoke, that strikes me as a terrible punishment."
Officials of the lung association said 80% of inmates in California's jails and prisons smoke, compared to 21% of the population at large.
"Unfortunately, cigarettes continue to serve as currency inside jails," Kelley said. "Some inmates will find a way to smuggle them in no matter what, but experience shows that when restrictions begin, the air clears."
If the county jails do go smoke-free, they will not be the first.
Smoking was outlawed inside the federal Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles when it opened in 1989 Marlboro Red Cigarettes
. However, inmates are allowed to smoke in outdoor areas adjacent to each cellblock.
San Diego County's jails went smokeless two years ago. The ban was ushered in with small riots at two jails, as inmates fought over a dwindling supply of cigarettes. For awhile, the price of a cigarette on the black market zoomed to $9 Tobacco Store
, county sheriff's officials said.
Kelley said that before setting up a program to help inmates in San Diego cope with having to quit cold turkey, she had to sign a form releasing the Sheriff's Department from responsibility in the event she was kidnaped.
"It brings home to you just how entrenched smoking has become behind bars and what it means to many of the inmates," the lung association official said Buy Cigarettes Online
. "But that's no reason why tobacco products Newport Cigarettes Website
, or other harmful drugs, legal or illegal, should be allowed inside jails."
At Los Angeles' Central Jail on Tuesday, Maria Aguillera of La Puente arrived to visit her 19-year-old son, and brought along a few dollars for him to buy cigarettes from vendors currently allowed inside.
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