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Smuggling in undies prompts change at Franklin County jail

Courtesy of: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2015/04/15/jail-moves-to-halt-smuggling-in-undies.html

tighty-whities-art-g5t119rk2-1tighty-whities-eq-01-jpgInmates soon can buy their tighty whities at the Franklin County jail commissary. Actually, that will be the only place they can get them.

Either that, or go commando.

Jail officials are tired of finding contraband in the bundles of underwear and socks that relatives, friends and co-conspirators deliver to the inmates.

The county commissioners approved a $94,525, one-year contract with the Acme Supply Co. of Glen Cove, N.Y., yesterday to provide 34,000 T-shirts, 1,500 bras (wireless only), 700 sports bras, 20,000 total men’s boxers and briefs, 6,000 women’s briefs and 46,500 pairs of socks (crew and quarter length).

“All white, one color,” said Dave Masterson, director of administrative services. They won’t say: “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday” or “Day 1, Day 2, Day 3.”

Inmates can have family and friends put cash in their commissary accounts to buy the undergarments like they do now for snacks.

Jail workers regularly find contraband in the undergarments that people deliver for inmates, Chief Deputy Geoff Stobart said. “They get quite creative.”

People will carefully open a three-pack of T-shirts and rip open the seams to insert contraband such as marijuana or, the latest trend, orally dissolving strips of Suboxone, a drug used to treat heroin addicts, he said. Then they will sew the seam back and heat-seal the package.

Acme will charge the county 89 cents for a pair of men’s briefs (95 cents for boxers) and $2 for a sports bra, the highest-priced item. The county will decide how much to charge inmates, but it will sell them at a profit, Masterson said.

“We’re the only game in town for these guys, so we’re not going to gouge them,” he said.

The jail launders the inmates’ “whites,” Stobart noted, and each gets his or her own clothing back. That’s not the case at all jails, he said.

It was undecided whether the county would add underwear to the packet of hygiene items given to indigent inmates, he said.

If not, they’ll have to go without.

Underwear for inmates “is not a minimum jail standard in Ohio,” Masterson said.

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