On 27 August 2003, the Wall Street Journal ran a lengthy, Page 1 feature article on the banning of smoking in prisons. Much of the article is devoted to its potential financial impact on correctional recreation. It points out how several smoking firms donated athletic equipment to prisons for the right to sell their cigarettes there, plus many prisons use revenue generated by sales of cigarettes to purchase recreation equipment. A small portions of the article is summarized below. If you are interested in viewing the entire article, the Wall Street Journal is available in most major libraries.
Big Tobacco Courted Inmates for Decades, Yielding Reliable Funds for Many States By Vanessa O'Connell 27 August 2003 Pgs. A1 and A6 portions are summarized or quoted belowA commissary manager at Rikers reports New York City banned smoking in prisons in April. He has not yet figured out how to replace thousands of dollars a day in lost cigarette sales.
From 1990-1997, Lorillard ran the "Great Newport Sneaker Deal," providing a pair of running shoes or high-tops for each batch of 300 to 400 empty packs.
From 1990-1997, Lorillard spent about $1.4 million on the "Play Ball" and sneaker programs. Their cigarettes were sold in more than 575 prisons and jails.
From 1994-1996, Lorillard spent about $24,000 a year on Newport ads on back covers of Prison Life magazine (a no longer published periodical targeted at inmates.
In the 1990's, Philip Morris offered price breaks on some of their brands to inmates held in many institutions. They also provided Virginia Slims playing cards and 2-for-1 deals on its Benson & Hedges cigarettes.
The bequests included 500 domino sets, 500 chess and checkers games, 500 Scrabble boards, 615 footballs, 1,000 basketballs and 30 basketball nets -- all during one three-month period. Rikers also got Uno games, volleyball nets and pole sets, weightlifting equipment, gym mats and softball gear."