Black Market In Tobacco Makes Prisons More Violent by Dwight E. Abbott
The Department of Corrections (and Rehabilitation) knew it was going to happen before it banned tobacco products from California prisons. An ‹experimentŠ was conducted for several years earlier in the California Medical Facility state prison in Vacaville banning all tobacco. Within weeks, tobacco was being smuggled into the prison by visitors and guards. One $10, six-ounce can of Bugler tobacco then sold for $50.00, gradually increasing to $300.00. Individual cigarettes or ‹rolliesŠ (400 can be made), first priced at $1.00, became $10.00 each. Three months passed, and a pack of Camel cigarettes was selling for $150.00 plus. Violence erupted as profits proved tobacco to be more valuable than drugs. Everybody wanted a piece of the action.
No matter those disheartening findings, to “improve working conditions and cut health care cost among inmates,” the DOC bulled forward: there would be no smoking by inmates or guards beginning July, 2005. The results, as expected, mirror exactly what occurred at the California Medical Facility. Black marketing of tobacco became more profitable than marijuana or heroin…
If you want somebody to not do something, prohibition is your absolute worst choice in terms of financial and societal cost-effectiveness.