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Rehab group links prisons officers to contraband trade
In the prison system, one pack of cigarettes can be bought for between $50 and $100. A cigarette goes for as much as $10. Desperate inmates sometimes exchange food family buys for them from the prison canteen for a cigarette. This was disclosed by Wayne Chance, president of the prisoner rehabilitation group, Vision on Mission. The group last Friday gave out more than 100 large hampers of groceries to the families of prisoners and people affected by crime at its office at the Croisee, San Juan. Asked about stories of a thriving black market trade in cigarettes, drugs and food in prison, Chance said: “Trafficking in the prisons community is an ongoing challenge.” Chance, who spent seven years in prison from 1993 to 2000, said: “There is the trafficking of goods, legitimate and illegitimate.
“People could barter with grocery items, drugs, like marijuana and cocaine, cigarettes and food.” Prisons officers are a vital ink in the chain, he said. Asked where prisoners would get $100 to buy a pack of cigarettes, he said: “A prisons officer might collect $500 from a relative to bring the same amount for a prisoner.” Citing some of the various means whereby a prisoner can get his supplies, Chance added: “He can get it when he goes to court, from the police station.” He said from the moment prisons authorities began to clamp down on trafficking, goods became more expensive. The group’s president said prisoners may have legitimate concerns about prison conditions. He, noted, however, that things had improved from the time he was incarcerated to now.
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