Commissioner Vaccum Seals Lid On Peanut Butter

Thursday, March 23, 2006 | 06:00pm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) Commissioner George Little today announced the immediate ban of peanut butter containers in the state’s prison system in a sweep that began overnight and continues today. Prison officials are collecting all peanut butter jars from prison inmates, beginning late Thursday night at three prisons.


“After today, any/all such containers shall be considered contraband and will result in disciplinary action,” Little said in a memo distributed to inmates.

Confiscation of the 18 ounce jars was necessary after officers found guns, drugs and cell phones concealed in the sticky substance. Department investigators determined that George Hyatt, now accused of killing a correctional officer in Roane County, had concealed a cellular phone in a jar of peanut butter, which was used to facilitate his escape. Investigators also found a 32 caliber pistol with ammunition in a peanut butter jar during a routine search.

The round up began simultaneously at the West Tennessee State Penitentiary in Henning, Turney Center Industrial Prison in Only and Brushy Mountain Prison in Petros, Tennessee. Searches will be completed at the remaining 12 correctional facilities by Saturday.

Little advises inmates that appropriate replacement will be provided in new one ounce packets, similar in size to the condiments handed out in fast food restaurants. The packets will be easier to search and make it harder for inmates to conceal things.

Inmates purchase the peanut butter through the department’s commissary. The commissary is presently stocked with some 4,600 jars. The unused portion will be returned to the vendor. North Carolina, South Carolina and the Federal Prison System have already banned the sale of peanut butter jars for the same reason.

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