Jail May Go Smoke-Free

Jail May Go Smoke-Free
By: Ryan Tate
Mississippi County Detention Center administrators will decide at the end of the month whether or not to make the facility smoke-free.
According to Bob Whitehead, a detention center administrator, the jail sells inmates cigarettes. Inmates can only smoke one a day, but Whitehead believes some inmates prefer to stay in Mississippi County because they can smoke there. Other Heartland jails prohibit smoking by inmates and employees.
Administrators at the Scott County jail banned smoking at the beginning of 2005. According to Chief Deputy Tom Beardslee, there were three reasons for that.
"First, and obviously, there are the health reasons. Second is a productivity issue. Employees who get smoke breaks don't work as well because they are thinking about those smoke breaks. Third, is a security issue. Most fires in jails are started by lighters and matches. If they can't smoke, they don't have fire," Beardslee said.
Since January 1st, 2005, Beardslee says there have been no fires in the jail.
Whitehead says 80% of the Mississippi County Detention Center inmates smoke. They are not happy about the proposed plans.
"They have asked questions. They don't appreciate the idea, but also, they don't have a say in it," Whitehead said.