First charge filed using Idaho’s new prison contraband law
BOISE, June 1, 2012 — For the first time an inmate has been charged with a crime under the terms of a new Idaho law aimed at preventing cell phones and tobacco from being smuggled into the state’s prisons and jails.
On May 17, 2012, Idaho County Prosecutor Kirk MacGregor charged Joshua Combs, IDOC #84568, with possession of a cell phone and chewing tobacco at North Idaho Correctional Institution in Cottonwood.
“We consider this to be a serious crime because cell phones allow inmates to bypass security measures and direct criminal activity in our communities,” MacGregor said. “They can also aid in the planning of an escape.”
Tobacco trafficking also takes a toll on people beyond the walls of Idaho’s prisons and jails. Inmates’ families are often forced to pay the debts that inmates accrue from the purchase of tobacco products from other inmates.
Those debts can be substantial. An ounce of chewing tobacco, which can be bought in a store for a little as $1.00, can generate