Warren County Regional Jail Goes Smoke-Free

By  | 

Sean Willingham works for the Warren County Regional Jail. He says: "We're taking all tobacco, cigarettes, matches and lighters."

During headcount Monday morning, guards at the Warren County Regional Jail made the announcement to inmates that it was time to give up their smokes.

John Dobbs is an inmate. He says: "I'm actually going to be happy to quit. I've been smoking since I was 17 and I've noticed a health difference so I think this is a good change."

Now anyone found with cigarettes or tobacco will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. Anyone with matches or a lighter will be charged with a Class D felony.

Ronnie Webster is an inmate. He says: "I'm glad they took the cigarettes out of here."

Willingham says: "I'd say roughly at least 50 percent smoked in this jail."

Cigarettes weren't just used for smoking, inmates say they also used them for gambling.

Hobbs says: "We use them for trading. Like coffee, lunch trays stuff like that. I've seen a guy get a brand new pair of shoes for a pack of cigarettes."

Some inmates are not happy about the changes. Paul Lykins has been smoking for 14 years. He anticipates it will only be a matter of days before fighting breaks out over the lack of cigarettes.

Lykins says: "You're talking to someone with two black eyes from being in fights. Just little tiny fights. This was over a card game. Imagine what it's going to be like no when people are nervous with no nicotine."

Lykins is serving out a 30 year sentence and has two years left at the Warren County Jail. Now he says he's actually looking forward to going to prison to get nicotine.

Lykins says: "I'm ready to go. At one point in time I would have stayed here and spent as much time possible close to my family. I'd rather go to Eastern Kentucky in Nowheresville just so I can have a cigarette and enjoy my time."

The inmates have known about the jail going smoke-free for two months now. The last day they could order cigarettes from the commissary was the 27th of April. One pack confiscated from each inmate will go into their personal account. If they have more than one pack it will be disposed of.