Smoking in jails has been against the rules of most jails for a few decades now. Since the addiction to nicotine is a powerful beast, smoking in jails will never truly go away. Therefore, people will always try to find new and unusual ways to get away with breaking this rule. As I have worked as a Corrections officer for a decade and a half, I have a rather unique perspective on this topic.
One thing to remember is that the officers and officials that work in the jail are often outnumbered as least thirty to one, and that would be a great statistic. More often than not, that number is increased to one hundred to one. Therefore, hiding from the staff at the facility is very easy to do. However, making it easy for the staff to catch you is really not a very smart thing to do. Another important thing to remember is that inmates are not incarcerated for missing Sunday school. They are generally caught in the commission of a crime and that is why they are incarcerated. Thus, hiding their illegal activities and rule breaking is not something that they generally do very well.
The easiest place to smoke in a facility and get away with it is a utility closet or some other area with a solid door that can be closed. However, this is an easy place for staff to catch them for they cannot see through the door while they are breaking the rules and staff can catch them before they can hide their illicit activities. Also, if you have a few inmates huddled into a small room like a utility closet, this will no doubt raise suspicions. Even watching a few inmates walking into the area where a closet is and not watching them walk out will raise suspicions.
Second, the bathroom is a good place to try to break this rule. There are often partitions in between the stalls that would give the offender the ability to duck down and keep the activity a secret. However, the inmate would have to peak up every once in a while to make sure that no one is looking. The occasional head popping up in the bathroom definitely raises suspicions, especially with your more seasoned staff members. Another benefit to using the bathroom is that the sanitation laws in these facilities requires that exhaust fans be utilized in the bathrooms. Thus, the smoke generated by the cigarettes will be efficiently pumped out of the room. This makes it harder for the officers to find residual evidence of the illicit activity.
The worst place for smoking to occur, especially when you are trying to hide the activity, is on one’s rack. if you are smoking in your rack, you are always in the line of sight of the staff members. The exhaust fans do not work as effectively in the bedding area as in the bathroom, thus the puffs of smoke raise alarms with most staff members. Also, counts are conducted on a very regular basis within correctional and detention facilities, and the smell of smoke near your rack will definitely prompt a search of not only your area, but the areas around you as well. Corrections officers are always looking for any excuse to search an inmate and his area because this is how you prevent contraband and possibly even weapons from being present in their facility.
One of the most effective ways to get away with smoking in jails is among the least popular with the professional staff members that work in the facility. Inmates that can befriend an officer, possibly one whose professionalism is a bit lacking and especially if said officer smokes, can smoke in facilities without trying to hide it so much. Officers should be wary of these tactics, since this seemingly innocent raving a cigarette with an inmate in the facility can and often does lead to much more heinous acts of rule breaking. It can even ultimately lead to the inmate blackmailing the official into bringing contraband into the facility, which is a felony offense in almost every state in the union.
So, if you are trying to get away with smoking in detention and correctional facilities, maybe you should drop that habit as a symbol of dropping whatever habit landed you in your current situation in the first place. Believe me, it is far easier to smoke as a free citizen rather than an incarcerated offender. If you happen to be a facility official, be vigilant. Remember, these guys have all day and night to figure out how to break the rules, and you have from eight to twelve hours to figure out how to catch them.