Some inmates at Pittsburgh’s Allegheny County Jail cast lines out the recreation room air slats and troll for contraband, says the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. A fishing conspirator arrives at a pre-arranged time and place and ties the goods to the line. The successful angler reels in a small stash of tobacco or marijuana. Fashioning a string out of bedsheets or uniforms and weighing it down with a small battery so it can be used in this way is known in jail parlance as fishing. To allow the fishing tackle to sink to the ground from the jail’s lower levels, a line would have to be at least 100 feet long.
Inmates and their fishing buddies on the outside face steep penalties for trespassing and introducing contraband, but this hasn’t stopped the practice. The county’s high-rise jail, which opened in 1995 and houses about 2,500 inmates, is the largest correctional facility under one roof east of the Mississippi. Instead of a yard, each cell block has a door that leads to a drafty indoor-outdoor recreation room that is enclosed on all sides.