There has been a lot of media coverage of the proposals to ban smoking in prisons from 2014. Smoking could be banned across all prisons in England and Wales by 2015, amid fears that prisoners could begin rioting over the change.
The smoking ban introduced in England in 2007 restricted smoking in prisons but allowed inmates to smoke cigarettes in their cells. A pilot project would prevent this and smoking in all parts of the prison, including the exercise yard.
The move is believed to be linked to a campaign led by staff from the Prison Officer’s Association, who are concerned about suffering the effects of passive smoking.
However, banning smoking in prisons is not a new idea. Prisons across Canada and young offender institutions in UK are already smoke free.
In California prisons have been smoke free for years with no provision for support for smokers. The first smoke free prison in the British Isles was on the Isle of Man.
These examples show that it is possible to protect prison officer’s health and that riots are not inevitable.