Prison Inmates Use ‘Breaking Bad’ Trick To Light Cigarettes, Destroy 400 TV Sets In The Process

Do you remember last season of Breaking Bad when Mike Ehrmantraut tied Walter White’s arm to a heating register and left him? Do you remember how Walter escaped? He bit through an electrical cable (from a coffeemaker) and used it to burn through the hand restraint, burning the sh*t out of his own wrist in the process.

It must have been that moment when hundreds of light bulbs went off in the heads of Queensland’s Lotus Glen Correctional Centre. See, for some reason, those prisoners — for only $2 a week! — are allowed to have televisions in their cells. However, they’re not allowed to have lighters or matches, and smoking is prohibited.

I think you see where we’re going here.

From Australia’s Courier Mail:

The Queensland Corrective Services has confirmed it will make sweeping overhauls to the current practice of charging prisoners just $2 a week to have a TV in their cell after 425 had to be replaced and another 131 had to undergo repairs within 12 months.

The figure equates to more than one per day being ruined.

QCS Commissioner Marlene Morison admitted most of the damage had been intentional, and came despite prisoners being threatened with TV bans of up to six months if they caused the damage.

“Most of the damage is caused by prisoners using the electrics to light cigarettes,” she said.

The technique of turning an electrical cable into a blowtorch was popularised in hit US television drama Breaking Bad, when anti-hero Walter White (Bryan Cranston) used the cable from an electric coffee pot to burn through a wrist tie.

First of all, what kind of prison allows television sets in individual cells? You mean, you can go to prison and still watch Breaking Bad? Isn’t the point of prison to deprive them of the greatest things in life?

Second of all: You have to give it up to the prisoners for their ingenuity.

Third of all: They must really, really want a cigarette to destroy their televisions — and their chance to watch Breaking Bad — in order to light up.

Finally, what the hell?

Ms Morison said they would introduce a trial system to make inmates pay a $30 bond to have a set in their room, although all inmates would still have access to them in common areas until the 6pm lock-up time.

James Cook University criminologist Dr Mark David Chong said prison wardens had to walk “a fine tightrope” between enforcing punishment, but also maintaining order within the jail.

“If they don’t ensure that they allow basic human rights it makes it difficult to control the (prison) population,” he said.

You mean to tell me that television is a “basic human right” in Queensland? You gotta appreciate those priorities.