Ohio’s top prison official has asked his department to investigate whether an increase in violence is linked to a tobacco ban and the use of tobacco as a currency among inmates.
The ban was instituted in 2009 to help reduce inmate health care costs.
The department’s chief security-threat investigator says that gangs gain power in prison by controlling the trade of contraband goods such as the tobacco, drugs, weapons and phones.
Prisons Director Gary Mohr is looking into whether disturbances that involved at least four inmates were connected to illicit tobacco.
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