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Some prisons taking pre-orders for cigarettes, in preparation for Feb. 1 lift of smoking ban

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – Inmates are likely counting down the days until they’ll be able to light up again in Mississippi’s prisons. So many people are expected to begin smoking, in fact, that some facilities began taking pre-orders for cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products earlier this month.

However, the rollout isn’t without its hitches. Some inmates are complaining of price-gouging, while some nonprofits are saying the change in policy will only hurt inmate health.

Mississippi Department of Corrections officials say they’re looking into a complaint of price-gouging made to WLBT, adding that cigarettes are not supposed to be sold beyond market prices.

Meanwhile, they say that prisoners are already smoking and that lifting the ban on cigarettes and smokeless tobacco could make prisons healthier and safer.

“It will cut down on the contraband and gangs using contraband to extort inmates,” said MDOC Assistant Deputy Commissioner Leo Honeycutt. “It will be safer for everybody.”

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