One More Drag

Cliff couldn't have been released from prison at a better time. You may have heard from Lou's blog that prisons are removing tobacco sales from the inmates. I'm not sure who came up with this brainy idea but I think it's adding gasoline to a smoking compost pile. Yep, it is. I know all the controversy surrounding this topic, but imagine yourself in a place with 4,000 men who have had, and should in most cases, every freedom taken from their lives. Forced celibacy, withdrawals and rehab hardly ever are successful, peaceful life-changing tactics. Let them have one vice.


Remember "Grandpa B" , Cliff's prison cellmate? I received a letter from him the other day. He's one of the prisoners I write to and he is glad to get my letters because he wants to know how Cliff is faring these days. This last letter mentioned that Cliff couldn't have left at a better time due to the "no-smoking" ordinance set in the prisons. Grandpa B wrote that because of that ordinance, the place has become even more intolerable than ever before. Fights are breaking out left and right, people are getting hurt and cells are being broken into looking for tobacco purchased prior to the "no more sale" date. I know this all seems strange but its happening. Their cells are not like the movies, at least not at this prison. They're more like very small dorm rooms with steel doors on them that have narrow windows inserted to see into the cell. The inmates are given keys to their cell doors which has a $45.00 value attached in the event of losing or destroying them.

Grandpa also wrote that the inmates are extremely fidgety without tobacco, and drug use seems to have increased. Those who can get their hands on a cigarette are "paying" $4.00 per cigarette through their commissary items and rolling papers are equivalent to 2 bars of soap. Who knows what else they will do for just one more drag? The most startling piece of news in this letter was reading that just a few days prior one inmate died from an overdose.

Grandpa's letter makes me feel incredibly grateful to see Cliff home and witness the transformation God has made in his life. It also makes me feel incredibly sad to read that lives which we think are being somewhat saved from a life and death of street drugs by rules and restrictions are still being controlled by the drugs for which they are most likely incarcerated.

People are dying on the streets and dying in the prisons from the same poison. Someone's son, brother, uncle, father, and friends lives are up in smoke....

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