Cigarettes in Prison

Prison Life

Sep 05

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012 |

There is a lot of money to be made by bringing contraband into a high security prison, so it is not surprising that a CO that was busted for trying to bring cigarettes into the Deuce.   The CO is in serious trouble that will probably include prosecution. There was also a rumor that a mysterious substance was also involved, perhaps heroin, but this is just a rumor.

It is very easy for COs to bring contraband into the prison, where it is extremely difficult without CO help for anyone else.  This doesn’t mean that inmates aren’t creative.

I knew a guy who worked at the Butner central warehouse.  He told me he would put cartons of cigarettes into supply boxes destined for the Deuce.  He arranged to have another inmate-friend intercept the boxes to get the cigarette cartons out of the box to sell.

Cigarettes sell for three to four books of stamps for each cigarette! An inmate can buy a $9 book of stamps from other inmates for $5 or $6, on a best-case scenario. So, you are looking at least $15 per cigarette – that is $3,000 per carton!  The guy I knew was paid $1,000 per carton.  His friend could sell the packs for $200 each ($2,000 for the carton).  The guys buying the packs were then sell the individual smokes.

The camp gets a lot of cigarettes since it is easy to get them in the camp. Cigarettes sell here for two stamps each. It is a supply/demand function. Cigarettes won’t get you booted from the camp.  But, you will lose multiple months of phone, email and commissary privileges.  One of my friends lost all three for eight months. He was caught again but he was treated less harshly the second time by a more lenient disciplinary officer.