To think prisoners shouldn't be allowed to smoke?

(146 Posts)
angelos02 Fri 20-Sep-13 09:08:55

In the new today it said there is a pilot about to be done in some prisons to not allow prisoners to smoke. I think this is fair. People that haven't broken the law can't smoke at work, in pubs, cafes, shops etc so why should criminals be allowed?

CaptainCapybara Fri 20-Sep-13 09:10:48

I wouldn't want to be a guard in one of those prisons having to deal with convicts being forced to go cold turkey. I think YABU.

mrsjay Fri 20-Sep-13 09:11:56

They are being allowed to smoke just not inside which is fair enough I suppose, I think because prison was seen as a place of residence then they are allowed, and TBH i wouldn't like to come up against nicottine addicted criminals, but I think they will be allowed to go on fag breaks,

But you can just nip outside to smoke.
I know loads of people here who smoke - just not inside.
Prisoners can't do this.
And the logistics of getting those who smoke outside without incident is gonna be a nightmare. I'm not sure how they will work this one to be honest.
We'll have human rights and all sorts coming out of the woodwork on this one!

LadyBeagleEyes Fri 20-Sep-13 09:12:04

Because it s their temporary home.
And i predict serious unrest if violent criminals aren't allowed to smoke, it's hard enough for anyone.

NumTumDeDum Fri 20-Sep-13 09:12:04

Well if they're in prison they're not smoking in cafes....

Seriously though, the punishment is to deprive them of their liberty. They cannot smoke in communal areas anyway aa the law bans this. The only place they can smoke is in their cell. Personally I think this is a waste of everyone's time as the big debate ought to be how best to address re-offending rates and rehabilitation.

NumTumDeDum Fri 20-Sep-13 09:13:39

And yes, it will cause massive unrest in understaffed prisons, what for? So politicians can score a few points. Totally pointless.

burberryqueen Fri 20-Sep-13 09:14:10

because it is their home?
ffs who cares that much?

pianodoodle Fri 20-Sep-13 09:14:51

That'll make for an interesting atmosphere in already stressful conditions...

But you can see it from the staffs POV. I mean pregnant POs especially.

And if they are allowed pets in their cell then that would be better for them too.

Not sure how it would work though

MaidOfStars Fri 20-Sep-13 09:17:05

YANBU: Non-smokers in prison and staff members should be protected from second-hand smoke, as us law elsewhere.
YABU: Let them smoke outside. Giving up smoking is hard, let alone in a prison environment. Possible that smoking/tobacco might be used by the guards as a 'reward system/privilege' to induce good behaviour?

mrsjay Fri 20-Sep-13 09:17:10

IF i remember right pregnant P O are not allowed on the shop floor so to speak is that right I am sure somebody told me as it might be too dangerous for her,

fluffyraggies Fri 20-Sep-13 09:18:19

Would they put a smoker with a non smoker in a cell together?

Genuine question.

PrincessKitKat Fri 20-Sep-13 09:18:31

The BBC news stated that 3 in 4 prisoners smoke.
Can you imagine all those angry men who aren't known for sensible decision making quitting all at once? Carnage.

Doodledumdums Fri 20-Sep-13 09:19:22

YANBU- But then again I have harsh ideas about prisons! I would take away TV's, pool tables, any treats, cigarettes, and make it somewhere people will do anything to avoid going back to and therefore maybe wont re-offend, or even offend in the first place?!

FlapJackFlossie Fri 20-Sep-13 09:19:30

But you can see it from the staffs POV. I mean pregnant POs especially.

FFS !!

deepfriedsage Fri 20-Sep-13 09:21:32

Non smoking prisoners health trumps smokers rights. If they get cigarette breaks, say three a day then they will eventually get used to it. They are not in prison for holiday.

mrsjay Fri 20-Sep-13 09:22:22

Would they put a smoker with a non smoker in a cell together?

probably not I wonder how they work out cell mates and do they even have cell mates these days some prisons it is just 1 cell per person

Well having worked whilst pregnant in an establishment that allowed smoking and having to breathe it in10 hours a day then yes it might be nice for the staff surely???

Hullygully Fri 20-Sep-13 09:23:48

They do put smokers and non smokers together.

It's to avoid being sued by prisoners and staff re passive smoking.

Also, they can say there are some rioty protests going down and bang em all up for even longer and save more money.

They should have a smoking wing and a non-smoking wing.

Being deprived of liberty is the punishment, there's no need to take away fags etc.

And shouldn't prison be about rehabilitation anyway, not just punishment. Otherwise out they come and back they go. Pointless.

waterlego Fri 20-Sep-13 09:23:54

YABU for the reasons already given.

Prisoners being allowed to smoke in their cells has absolutely zero impact on Joe Public so I don't see why it would bother you.

mrsjay Fri 20-Sep-13 09:24:07

well the smoking ban means that people are not allowed to work in a smokey atmosphere but if they are smoking in cells then the P O are not in direct contact with it

wigglesrock Fri 20-Sep-13 09:25:08

It was mentioned in the BBC report I read that non smokers were not forced to share cells with smokers.

I think you have to provide the facility to smoke be it outside - although how that would work logistically I'm not sure? Everyone wanting a quick puff before bed.

mrsjay Fri 20-Sep-13 09:25:14

And shouldn't prison be about rehabilitation anyway, not just punishment. Otherwise out they come and back they go. Pointless.

^ ^ this prison is punishment and rehabilitation or it should be,

kali110 Fri 20-Sep-13 09:25:58

Yanbu. I do think it will be hard on the staff though. I have the views on prisons though as you doodle, think our prisons should be stricter. They shouldnt be allowed to have loads of gadgets in their cells,theyre there because they broke the law.

outragedofsuburbia Fri 20-Sep-13 09:26:16

Prisons in the UK run on consent. If the prisoners did not, in the main, go along with the rules there would be a complete breakdown in the system. It is naïve to talk of taking away anything that could be considered a treat or entertainment. What would they do all day? Break rocks?

Should all prison officers carry guns to control the riots that would ensue? I can see why they are piloting this as it is not fair for the prison officers to have to work in smoky environments but I have relatives who work in the service and they are waiting for the fall-out.

mrsjay Fri 20-Sep-13 09:28:47

maybe the politions (bloody spelling) should go into the prison to supervise the smoke breaks grin

burberryqueen Fri 20-Sep-13 09:29:22

They shouldnt be allowed to have loads of gadgets in their cells
tthat is a myth, they don't.
not in HMp Swansea anyway.

FreudiansSlipper Fri 20-Sep-13 09:30:01

really having your freedom taken away, having others decide when you shower, eat and can exercise, being locked in a cell for much of the day is not punishment enough

AlannaPartridge Fri 20-Sep-13 09:31:26

People that haven't broken the law can't smoke at work, in pubs, cafes, shops etc so why should criminals be allowed?

But people who have broken the law are not at work, in a pub, cafe or shop. They are in their home.

BrokenSunglasses Fri 20-Sep-13 09:33:04

There's a lot of things I don't think prisoners should be allowed, in general I don't think prison is harsh enough, but I don't think taking away smoking from prisoners is a good idea.

I think more could be done to protect prison staff such as only allowing smoking outside or at certain times in certain spaces, but banning it all together will just make tempers flare and more problems will result.

I don't think the argument about a non smoker having to share a cell with a smoker holds any weight at all. If a non smoker doesn't want to share a cell with a smoker, they shouldn't have committed a crime.

waterlego Fri 20-Sep-13 09:33:11

Agree burberry. 'Prison is like a holiday camp' is something oft peddled by people who've never set foot inside one.

McNewPants2013 Fri 20-Sep-13 09:33:13

If the do make it so Prisinors cant smoke. I hope to god they are going to provide NRT and all the help and support needed.

I am a smoker ( wish i could give them up)

FreudiansSlipper Fri 20-Sep-13 09:33:24

no all people who are in prison went out to intentionally break the law and hurt others not everyone who is in prison is a bad person

though i think very few people are bad people there are reasons but that is a different debate

VanitasVanitatum Fri 20-Sep-13 09:34:54

This is going to be near impossible to enforce. They smoke in places they're not 'allowed' to all the time. Prison is meant to be about a mixture of punishment and rehabilitation, however if they focused more on the rehabilitation aspect we would all be better off in the long run. Prison as punishment demonstrably doesn't work in the majority of instances.

fluffyraggies Fri 20-Sep-13 09:35:30

So is the thrust of this initiative a punishment led idea, or a health issue led idea?

If it's health then i would agree that having inmates or staff share the same enclosed spaces with smokers is not right in the light of what we know about passive smoking. However splitting wings into smoking and non-smoking is probably logistically impossible i would think. All wings are over crowded as it is apparently.

And as for restricting them to outdoors - how many outdoor breaks do prisoners get per day? And night!? Not like they can pop out for one is it?

A dedicated smoking area indoors? How do-able is the supervision of that?

Tricky. I wouldn't like to be the one to push this through.

AlannaPartridge Fri 20-Sep-13 09:35:56

I am a smoker ( wish i could give them up)

Try an E-Cig, McNew. You'll never look back wink

(Sorry for the derail).

Casanunda Fri 20-Sep-13 09:37:30

What outraged said...Prisons in the UK only run on the consent of the prisoners. I can understand the arguments against them smoking inside, but in practice, all this will do is inflame an already volatile situation. I haven't worked in a prison for a number of years to be fair, but ime this will cause nothing but trouble. If you have a wing of some 200 prisoners, with only 3 or 4 POs, how on earth are they expected to get everyone outside for a smoke break??

ReallyTired Fri 20-Sep-13 09:37:44

Prisons struggle enough to get prisoners off drugs like heroin or cocaine or alcohol. Often prisoners have huge mental health problems as well. It is hard breaking addictions and sometimes prisoners respond better to rewards than punishments.

Some prisoners are very damaged people. They need to be shown compassion inorder to learn compassion. If you treat prisoners like animals then they are more likely to act like animals in the future.

I would favour having non smoking and smoking wings of a prison. Prehaps the cells of non smokers could have extra luxuries to entice prisoners to try and give up cigerettes. (Ie. non smoking prisoners could be given access to Sky Sports or prehaps a slightly bigger cell or VERY CONTROLLED access to the internet or gadgets like a nindendo DS/ Wiii.)

I suppose I am guilty writing about something I have no knowledge of. It is easy to have views and harsh opinons on people you have never met and enviroment you have never visited.

McNewPants2013 Fri 20-Sep-13 09:38:08

tried every thing.

You can go to prison for unpaid TV licence. ( pretty pointless)

Graciescotland Fri 20-Sep-13 09:38:16

YANBU but I'm with those who say prison should be a lot stricter anyway.

mrsjay Fri 20-Sep-13 09:39:32

I thinkt he smoking in cells was to prevent prisoners gathering ina big group to prevent trouble iyswim, not that all prisoners are going to be fighting

morethanpotatoprints Fri 20-Sep-13 09:39:39

grin That's the way to get roof top protests and riots.

mrsjay Fri 20-Sep-13 09:40:20

you can go to prison for not paying your community charge or not making sure your truanting teenager goes to school ,

theodorakisses Fri 20-Sep-13 09:42:06

And yet seriously mentally ill patients are already forced to go outside, even when under section. I briefly worked in a secure ward in the early 90s and smoking was the only time lots of patients interacted as they had to go to the smoke room. I think prisons and other places where people are locked in should not ban smoking but then I think the smoking ban is a pathetic pile of shit anyway.

kali110 Fri 20-Sep-13 09:42:13

Im going to derail to and say how good the e- cigs are. My partner has had one for over a year. He only uses it now when we go out or if hes really stressed. He used to smoke a lot before it

gordyslovesheep Fri 20-Sep-13 09:43:46

I really dislike this idea that everyone in prison is some kind of evil beast - people go to prison for loads of non violent reasons - and prisoners are still human beings

I think they should have smoking wings - I don't think they should ban smoking

WilsonFrickett Fri 20-Sep-13 09:46:23

I think they should concentrate on getting drugs out of prisons before they start to look at cigarettes, tbh. No point cutting someone's nicotine use when all sorts of other, illegal substances are widely available.

McNewPants2013 Fri 20-Sep-13 09:48:44

Not every one in prison has committed a huge crime.

I don't want the ban in prisons. Its not fair to force people to give up a legal drug.

TheBigJessie Fri 20-Sep-13 09:48:49

Banning smoking? Shouldn't we, erm, be focusing on eliminating drugs trading inside prisons, rather than the prisoners' use of an entirely legal substance available on the outside, which does little to affect mood or competency?

And for anyone who thinks that smoking should be banned in prisons to make prisons more unpleasant, are you volunteering to be a prison guard while they bed that policy in?

ilovesooty Fri 20-Sep-13 09:52:36

It would cause chaos with an environment housing some very damaged people struggling with addiction as has been previously said. Different types of sentences and prisoners pose different problems re enforcement.

ilovesooty Fri 20-Sep-13 09:55:29

And what about those awaiting trial? They haven't even been found guilty so it hardly seems right to inflict this on them.

Whoever thought this out didn't think it through enough.

ilovesooty Fri 20-Sep-13 09:57:29

And yes, winning the battle against illegal drugs in prison is much more important.

angelos02 Fri 20-Sep-13 10:03:47

ilovesooty It is being proposed that they don't smoke. Not that they don't eat.

burberryqueen Fri 20-Sep-13 10:07:36

but smoking is not illegal

CluelessNewbie1 Fri 20-Sep-13 10:09:21

I think that these kind of decisions should be made by the experts that work with prisoners and not by MP's trying to win favour.

burberryqueen Fri 20-Sep-13 10:09:31

besides angelos have u never 'broken the law'? honestly?

hermioneweasley Fri 20-Sep-13 10:13:11

How do prisoners afford to smoke? Surely they have no income?

Longdistance Fri 20-Sep-13 10:13:36

My fil works in a Category D or E prison. I can't quite remember which. Anyway, it's an open prison, so they come and go as they please.

Sounds like Butlins to me.

<hoiks up judgy pants>

burberryqueen Fri 20-Sep-13 10:14:30

friends send them money hermione or they can earn a few pounds inside i think

mrsjay Fri 20-Sep-13 10:16:28

they have jobs in prison don't they are they also get an allowance to buy toilettries and whatnot

mrsjay Fri 20-Sep-13 10:16:44

well some Prisoners will have jobs in prison

Longdistance Fri 20-Sep-13 10:18:11

I think they get paid for helping in the kitchens and such.

angelos02 Fri 20-Sep-13 10:19:24

burberryqueen I don't think I've broken the law. I cycled on the pavement the other day - does that count?

burberryqueen Fri 20-Sep-13 10:39:21

yes it does if you are on your high horse about 'law breakers'.

TheBigJessie Fri 20-Sep-13 10:39:22

angelos02 cycling on the pavement is illegal.

Things that are not legal, that many people have nevertheless admitted to doing in these threads:

*having sex in some kind of public space
*recording the Top 40 off the radio onto a cassette
*illegal downloading
*over-claiming on their insurance
*stealing something after their tenth birthday (age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales)

And many others.

Every piece of research and cross cultural study shows that tougher prisons don't work to rehabilitate the offender.

It depends on what basis the ban was bought in on, if it is imposing a healthy lifestyle on the prisoner then we ate entering dodgy ground, as where will it end?
Enforced healthy eating, exercise etc, then we will really be turning prisons into holiday/ spa breaks.

Smoking is an addiction and if we don't allow it then every smoker in prison will need an addiction counsellor and full addiction service, so where is the extra money going to come from for this?

A pilot scheme was done in YOI, completely different class of prisoner.

rioballinx Fri 20-Sep-13 10:57:31

sounds like it's going to cost them a lot of extra money and work. I think NRT should be promoted, and easy to get on prescription, but otherwise I think the government have far bigger things to worry about than whether a few cons are lighting up or not. of all the things to concentrate on I the penal system, smoking seems like the least important. x

judgejudithjudy Fri 20-Sep-13 11:06:26

yabu - not everyone in prison is a serious rapest/murdered/burgler! some people are in for minor crimes and statictists state a huge percentage are woman with severe mh problems that should be in a hospital. they have already had their liberty/freedom taken. & btw prisoners work to earn money to buy their smokes. they are locked up for 23 hours a day if not working & this in itself can send people over the edge.

peachmint Fri 20-Sep-13 11:32:33

"Prisons struggle enough to get prisoners off drugs like heroin or cocaine or alcohol. Often prisoners have huge mental health problems as well. It is hard breaking addictions and sometimes prisoners respond better to rewards than punishments.

Some prisoners are very damaged people. They need to be shown compassion inorder to learn compassion. If you treat prisoners like animals then they are more likely to act like animals in the future."

This. A large proportion of people in prison are care leavers and/or have mental health issues.

I'm hiding this thread because it really bugs me when people who've never been in prison say they're not strict enough. I haven't either so I don't claim to know.

catsoup Fri 20-Sep-13 12:04:50

I work in a prison and wouldn't want this ban coming in. Smoking is still expensive inside and seeing prisoner in need of a smoke because they can't afford to buy any isn't nice. The prisoner's don't have gadgets in their cells, only a t.v. It's grim and dirty and smells. Not a holiday camp. It really pisses me off when people say this, usually someone who has no idea what they're even talking about.

An open prison is completly different in the fact that they are preparing the prisoner for life on the outside again.

Also, a pregnant officer will have no prisoner contact at all so that's not an issue.

EldritchCleavage Fri 20-Sep-13 12:08:43

You can smoke in your own home. Prisons and secure mental hospitals are effectively temporary homes.

And pragmatically, forcing mass nicotine withdrawal would cause a lot of problems.

What about no-smokers locked in a cell with a smoker for 15 hours? Apparently the answer is to open a window (according to the people being interviewed on R4 this morning). Why did we bother with a work place ban, when we could have just opened a few windows?

lifesgreatquestions Fri 20-Sep-13 12:09:08

Just because they'd have to go cold turkey is no excuse, they have to give up drugs and alcohol. I think it should be banned, also sugar and caffeine, tv, etc. Let them spend their days working and their nights sleeping, reading and sport are nice pastimes!!!

EstelleGetty Fri 20-Sep-13 12:10:00

With the amount of illegal drugs circulating around prisons and the horrific effects they have on people's lives, I'd say smoking is a lesser evil.

I wouldn't want to be an officer in charge of nicotine-withdrawn prisoners. Smoking has significant effects on many people's mental health.

burberryqueen Fri 20-Sep-13 12:10:22

yes they should be in shackles breaking rocks in the hot sun

hermioneweasley Fri 20-Sep-13 12:11:05

Get paid to do work <faints>. Shouldn't they be working in prisons anyway? I would have thought that working would teach skills, give them something meaningful to do etc. I am amazed that it is an option to sit in your cell for 23 hours.

It sounds like we have the worst of both worlds - not enough rehabilitative stuff to actually make a difference, or enough punitive stuff to make it off putting.

burberryqueen Fri 20-Sep-13 12:13:38

they work as a reward and do not receive an 'outside' wage for it.

redexpat Fri 20-Sep-13 12:14:15


Not everyone in prison is guilty of a crime. Some are on remand and are innocent until proven guilty.

A large number of those incarcerated have all sorts of drug addictions and problems. Smoking is the least of their worries. I don't think people really understand how prison life is. You have very little control over any part of your life, subjected to searches etc. You know a lot of them work around the prison as cleaners and cooks and get a fraction of the minimum wage.

The prison service has got bigger fish to fry.

Oh and to the poster who was talking about pregnant POs they get removed from frontline duty as soon as they say they are pregnant.

MaidOfStars Fri 20-Sep-13 12:51:35

BrokenSunglasses I don't think the argument about a non smoker having to share a cell with a smoker holds any weight at all. If a non smoker doesn't want to share a cell with a smoker, they shouldn't have committed a crime.

Seriously? You think that part of being imprisoned should be to accept the risk of a future death from a torturous form of cancer? That's a rather cruel and unusual punishment, in my opinion, and shouldn't be accepted as a necessary byproduct of crime punishment. We do not deal out death sentences and we do not force anyone to sacrifice their health without consent.

What of that old fella imprisoned for not paying his council tax (a political protest, if I recall). You'd force passive smoking on him, an elderly man with no violent tendencies and full expectation of rehabilitation?

Beastofburden Fri 20-Sep-13 12:51:42

I could see smoking and non-smoking wings, though. With smoking wings available to those on remand, for those with genuine chaotic addictions, and by way of privileges for good behaviour.

Prison sentences are not a big deterrant for some people. The thought of having to give up fags might actually be quite powerful.

catsoup Fri 20-Sep-13 12:56:06

in my establishment a non smoker is not forced to share a cell with a smoker. Every effort will be made to ensure that.

I agree with it. Smoking is not a human right.

I spent time in a secure psychiatric unit this year, I was not allowed to smoke inside and I had to wait for a member of staff to open the door to the garden when I wanted a cigarette. I remember watching a programme about prison life, which showed prisoners smoking in their rooms and having their own TV etc when I was in the unit and it felt so unjust that I had done nothing wrong and had less freedom than the prisoners.

AmberLeaf Fri 20-Sep-13 13:05:08

Anyone who says prison is a holiday camp is either stupid or believes what they read in the daily mail.

As others say, they can't even deal with the issue of illegal drugs in prisons, so how the heck is a smoking ban going to work?

I feel for the staff working in prisons who will actually have to implement this stupid decision.

wanderings Fri 20-Sep-13 13:17:43

Theoretically, drugs are totally banned in prisons, with severe consequences for anybody caught with them.

However, prisoners can still get their hands on them! Where there's a will, there's a way.

Prisoners do not have cash in jail; they trade things with each other return for favours, mostly cigarettes, but many other things such as phonecards.

All this is described in detail in Jeffrey Archer's "A Prison Diary".

A ban on smoking will be unworkable. Like oh so many other top-down decisions which affect many people EXCEPT the person who makes it, the decision will have been made from behind a desk in Whitehall, by somebody who has probably never set foot in a prison.

LadyBeagleEyes Fri 20-Sep-13 13:18:34

i agree with the 'holiday camp' thing Amber.
If it was so great, surely all the poor would be creating crime all over the place just to get a nice break.
Just think, no food bills, utility bills, no responsibility.

burberryqueen Fri 20-Sep-13 13:18:57

they do have cash, but in small amounts

Maryann1975 Fri 20-Sep-13 13:26:52

I didnt think service men and women who live in barrack blocks were allowed to smoke in their rooms. (Maybe they do, but I'm not sure it is allowed) And that is their place of residence. I hadn't thought about prisoners being allowed to smoke in their cells before, but no I don't think they should be able to. Smoking is not a human right, you can choose to do it if you wish, but should be aware that if you get locked up fags will be something you have to live without.

StuntGirl Fri 20-Sep-13 13:31:02

Our vision on prisons is wrong. The removal of liberty is the punishment. Once you have your captive audience work needs to begin on rehabilitation. Our rates of reoffending are too high. Our system is not working. You might not like the Norwegian methods - but they get results. And that's the most important thing.

GrownUpYOYO Fri 20-Sep-13 13:33:09

Most prisoners are in their to receive punishment. They should not be allowed to smoke! If they start to throw tantrums, prison officers should be given more force to deal with them. I don't care if prisoners get angry or it violates their human rights - what about their victims? (or the victims family who are angry about small prison sentences)

burberryqueen Fri 20-Sep-13 13:35:16

oh ffs, get a grip

Shakey1500 Fri 20-Sep-13 13:40:14


Smoking and non smoking wings.

fluffyfressinggown Sorry to hear you were in a secure unit which was bloody non smoking. I was in before the ban thankfully. Not sure how I would have coped otherwise

BrianTheMole Fri 20-Sep-13 13:42:13

YABU. What is the point of banning smoking? Really hmm

catinboots Fri 20-Sep-13 13:44:54

Um prisoners can smoke in their cells.

They can't smoke in communal areas.

GrownUpYOYO Fri 20-Sep-13 13:47:24

Smoking isn't a basic human right, It's a lifestyle choice. Prisoners should only be allowed basic human rights. If they can still do as they wish in prison it isn't a very good deterrent.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Fri 20-Sep-13 13:48:53

Maryann1975 But service men and women can go outside for a cigarette, prisoners are locked in their cells for long periods so obviously can't.

I fell very sorry for the prison officers who will have to deal with the fallout if this ban goes ahead.

All these people saying "They should be doing this and that" - and how do you think you MAKE them? So if you want them to be working anyway and no access to TV/fags/time socialising/learning new things then how are you going to make them work? What if they say NO?

The place would be chaos. If they are allowed nothing to do then you would need more and more staff to help control the violence/vandalism that would ensure from the boredom and isolation. If they are just locked up and nothing to do then they will soon learn they have to create a drama, harm themselves, destroy property or threaten suicide to get attention and entertainment.

Unless you want millions spent on increasing staff then you need incentives to encourage them and activites to help re-educate people.

AmberLeaf Fri 20-Sep-13 13:57:41

LBE indeed.

passedgo Fri 20-Sep-13 14:08:44

Agree with stuntgirl on the purpose of prisons, but they shouldn't smoke. It's pointless, unnecessary, unhealthy and creates a false feeling of being active.

Prisoners should be treated like children, feed them and keep them healthy in body and mind. Incarceration is their punishment and that will be felt more strongly when they are comfortable and given time to think about home and freedom.

When they wrap themselves up in anxiety about where they are going to get their next cigarette their minds are occupied and there is no real punishment, just an alternative existence to the one they had before, following the same patterns of behaviour. Rehabilitiation can't operate in that environment.

GrownUpYOYO Fri 20-Sep-13 14:11:30

I agree with Passedgo

JennySense Fri 20-Sep-13 14:38:09

The Prison Officer's Association are supporting this ban. They have been campaigning for it since 2007.
Smoking is already banned in Young Offender Institutions.

DipMeInChocolate Fri 20-Sep-13 14:39:26

If they're paying tax and duty on their cigs. Sure why not?

EST0106 Fri 20-Sep-13 14:43:38

What catsup said, I also work in a prison. Pregnant PO don't have prisoner contact, prisoners can only smoke in their cell, I.e. equivalent of their 'home', PO's don't tend to spend a lot of time in prisoners cells, unless they want a cheeky fag IME!
Stopping prisoners smoking full stop, which is what is proposed (including outside) would be extremely hard to enforce and likely to lead to significant unrest. I don't think the risks of second hand smoke make this a proportionate proposal.

zatyaballerina Fri 20-Sep-13 14:55:08

yanbu, it's horribly unfair to prison officers and non smoking inmates to be exposed to the health consequences of breathing in second hand smoke. It's not allowed inside nursing homes, hospitals or hospices all of which are homes to people, why should criminals be any different and those who have to live with and work with them have less rights?

Criminals will be a lot less likely to do the crime if doing the time is actually punishment for them. It would be a good deterrent.

MrsDeVere Fri 20-Sep-13 15:02:31

Criminals will be a lot less likely to do the crime if doing the time is actually punishment for them. It would be a good deterrent

As someone said on the radio today 'criminals are not generally known for their forward thinking and good decision making' (I paraphrase).

If someone is not put off being a criminal by the thought of doing a poo infront of Big Mike and being banged up for 22 hours a day, I doubt the thought of not having a fag when they feel like it will do the trick.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 20-Sep-13 15:06:50


a poo in front of big Mike, lmao. grin

zatyaballerina Fri 20-Sep-13 15:13:08

Ah but once they're in there...

Casanunda Fri 20-Sep-13 15:15:47

Those amongst you that believe prisons are like 'holiday camps' really ought to get some first hand experience of them to make an informed decision. Might I suggest a spell as a Prison Visitor (less harsh than getting yourself banged up or applying to be a Prison officer!) so you can see what REALLY goes on behind bars? It's very easy to bandy opinions around blithely about punishment and rehabilitation - go and experience a taste of it. It WILL open your eyes

cumfy Fri 20-Sep-13 15:21:58

Never really understood why there would be any supply of tobacco whatever in prisons.

It's a nutty idea.

wanderings Fri 20-Sep-13 16:37:50

'criminals are not generally known for their forward thinking and good decision making' (I paraphrase).

As said by Mr McKay in the film "Porridge":
"Rob now, think later, that's the criminal's motto."

Another observation by Jeffrey Archer was: drug testing in prisons was brought in by Anne Widdecombe. Why? Because she thought it would be a good political idea. Here is what she didn't know, but what the prisoners did:

Cannabis remains in the body (and can be detected by a drugs test) for 28 days. Heroin, on the other hand, can be totally flushed out of the body in 24 hours by drinking loads of water. Result? Prisoners who might only have been on cannabis when they go in are addicted to heroin (much more dangerous) in no time at all. Drugs are readily available in prison; indeed it's known for dealers in prison to make more money than they do out.

So, Anne Widdecombe's decision might have seemed like a good idea to her, but from her ivory tower she knew little about the unintended consequences.

Chesntoots Fri 20-Sep-13 16:44:52

I'm sure if they bring this in me and my colleagues will be spending many a happy hour kitted up...
I don't smoke and some cells make me want to gag, but bringing a ban in without proper thought and process will not go well.
Non smokers are not supposed to be padded up with smokers.
As soon as an officer declares that she is pregnant she is no longer allowed prisoner contact.

wanderings Fri 20-Sep-13 16:55:16

In another book about prisoners' accounts of life inside: one woman in prison told of an officer saying to a crowded wing of about 80 prisoners:

"Sorry, your visits today have been cancelled, because we are understaffed."

You need only imagine what the next hour was like.

WilsonFrickett Fri 20-Sep-13 17:12:23

I think most of the people with the 'bang 'em up and take their fags' mentality really don't understand the basic premise of UK prisons. I know there are POs on here who will know better than me, but there are a lot more prisoners than prison officers. For a prison to function at all there has to be co-operation - just like in a high school, which is something maybe more people can relate to?

If 300 16 yos don't want to be taught, the sheer force of numbers will quickly overwhelm the teaching staff. It's the same in a prison - except doors can be locked and people can't get out.

We don't like to acknowledge this - we like to think of people being punished but prisons are as much about taking people off the streets (unfortunately) as they are punishing and rehabilitating. They already have the potential to be powderkegs. Take away the nicotine (and up the heroin) and it has the potential to not be very pretty.

But really, my main objection is it serves no purpose. It's impractical and it won't have any positive impact (except that prisons won't smell of smoke).

MalcolmTuckersMistress Fri 20-Sep-13 17:23:26

I'm really surprised by how I feel about this. I was totally against them having the vote, or ever being able to take legal action having slop out while inside, but, I think this is actually pretty unfair.

Prisons are there to rehabilitate and I think there is enough to deal with without having to deal with prisoners who are going bonkers because they can't smoke. I'm sure I hear that 4 out of 5 prisoners smoke, so that's a LOT of angry people to deal with.

Maryann1975 Fri 20-Sep-13 17:39:39

Saskia, yes service personel can go outside, but why should they? Their room is their home and believe me, some of the accomodation is so unlike home, im surprised it can even pass as accomadation fit for humans. They defend their country. They can be called on at any moment to do this. They get drug tested and will be dismissed if there are drugs in their system and for what? So prisoners are allowed to smoke in their rooms and are taking smuggled in drugs with no consequence. I am proud to be married to a military veteran, but get so annoyed that prisoners in cases like this get better treatment. (For the record, my DH and I have never smoked, so it never affected us).

pointythings Fri 20-Sep-13 17:54:15

I think this has nothing to do with prison officer welfare and everything to do with the government posturing because they want to look tough on crime and draw attention away from UKIP. It will achieve nothing but unrest and misery for a lot of already very vulnerable people. The impact on remand prisoners alone should be enough to stop this in its tracks.

IAmNotAMindReader Fri 20-Sep-13 18:04:27

This could go horribly wrong as inmates with no access to other means of managing nicotine withdrawal may turn to other substances to try to ease it.

Hulababy Fri 20-Sep-13 18:16:38

I think the rule that they cannot smoke inside is fair enough.
IME all prisoners have at least 1, if not 2 or 3, exercise sessions in the yard each day - they will still be allowed to smoke then ifaik.

It is not fair on other non-smoking inmates to have to share with a smoker. It is a hazard to their health. Whilst prisons technically have smoking and non smoking cells, in reality it often happens that this cannot be kept to, due to overcrowding, and ime it is always the non smoker who has to compromise and put up with it.

it is also a workplace for staff. They should not have to have their health compromised by being in enclosed area whilst people smoke. I have done it - it isn't pleasant when there a group of smokers puffing away when you are trying to talk to them in a small room.

Hulababy Fri 20-Sep-13 18:19:11

BTW - cells are a work place for many prison staff. They are expected to enter cells for various reasons. the cells are not just a home for a prisoner.

I also don't buy the whole "only vice" line. Alcohol may be someone's only legal vice. They are still not allowed that in prison either.

ilovesooty Fri 20-Sep-13 18:23:07

I think pointythingsis right.

It's pretty obvious that a lot of posters have no knowledge or understanding of prison at all

If some of their wishes were implemented we would be moving toward the American
model and the potential for violence is a horrible prospect

catsoup Fri 20-Sep-13 18:55:22

on a lighter note If smoking was banned in prison then we would have nothing to mask the smell of the actual jail such as someone not having had a wash for days on end and the smell of food crushed into the carpet and not being cleaned properly. We need the smoke!

As someone who has worked with ex-offenders, done prison interviews, volunteered in prisons and spent a good deal of time in them, can I ask that people who haven't stop with the bollocks about 'Butlins' and 'holiday camps'.

Self-harm, suicide, bullying, MH issues, personality disorders, missing family, not seeing your children every day, assaults, lack of freedom, lack of privacy, loneliness, fear, loss of sense of self... this is the reality. Even in 'cushy' prisons.

I wouldn't want to be in prison, even with a TV and fags.

cumfy Fri 20-Sep-13 19:31:35

Prisoners are deprived of freedom, their own clothes, alcohol, sex and their dignity.

Depriving them of tobacco is a far, far more positive, healthy and humane measure than the above.

ilovesooty Fri 20-Sep-13 19:41:27

I'm sure the prisoners will see it that way
cumfy <cynical >

And what about the ones on remand?

AlannaPartridge Fri 20-Sep-13 19:51:50

Oh, really, Cumfy? So on top of everything else, they are forced to give up smoking whether they like it or not - just because you think it's "healthier"?

Going to prison is the punishment - not what happens once you're in there.

lljkk Fri 20-Sep-13 20:18:38

Actually, I would really like prisons to be about rehabilitation & reform. Radical heretical impossible thoughts, I know, I know.

cumfy Fri 20-Sep-13 20:20:17

It just seems like a distraction to me.

How does deprivation of nicotine really rank alongside all the other vagaries of existence in prison ?

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 20-Sep-13 21:31:42

Yabu and boring.

I'm more concerned about the drugs trade inside prisons than I am the quite legal habit of smoking.

ilovesooty Fri 20-Sep-13 22:13:23

How does deprivation of nicotine really rank alongside all the other vagaries of existence in prison ?

I could try asking my service users but I think I know the answer.

ilovesooty Fri 20-Sep-13 22:14:39

I'm more concerned about the drugs trade inside prisons than I am the quite legal habit of smoking

So am I. It is not unknown for people to go to prison clean and come out addicted.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Sat 21-Sep-13 11:19:22

Maryann1975 my son is a serving soldier (ie: not a veteran), I am aware of how bad some of the accommodation is. However, it is still not comparable to being in prison. Going outside to have a smoke is no different to what students living in halls, or nurses living in hospital accommodation have to do.

MrsLion Sat 21-Sep-13 15:21:02

Smoking has been banned in NZ prisons since 2011. Prisoners were informed, then had a year to give up.

I don't see the problem tbh.

Yes prison is rehabilitation, but it's also supposed to be a punishment and deterrent.

nennypops Sat 21-Sep-13 15:25:32

But people who have just been sentenced in NZ don't have a year to give up, do they? Forcing potentially violent and/or extremely stressed people to go cold turkey is both unnecessary and a recipe for trouble. The punishment is losing liberty, there is no need for extra punishment.

MrsLion Sat 21-Sep-13 15:36:41

Still don't see the problem really.

People have to give up smoking in all sorts of different circumstances, I really don't see why criminals should be given preferential treatment.

nennypops Sat 21-Sep-13 15:39:35

But there are very few alternative situations in which people who have to give up smoking have to do it on a completely cold turkey basis, and none where they have just gone through all the stress of a trial and are now being banged up 22 hours a day sharing a cell with a couple of thugs and an open WC, hundreds of miles away from their families.

MrsLion Sat 21-Sep-13 15:50:26

Firstly, the time of being arrested to getting banged up is not immediate it can take months. Also, how do you know they don't get time to give up too?

And tbh, except for the very small minority of prisoners who are innocent or have harsh sentences for something minor I really don't have much sympathy for criminals being forced to give up smoking.

nennypops Sat 21-Sep-13 15:52:31

But don't you have sympathy for warders having to deal with potentially violent extremely stressed people who have been forced to give up? Is it a job you would like?

MrsLion Sat 21-Sep-13 16:09:56

No I would hate that job and I'm very fortunate I don't have to do it. I have an enormous amount of sympathy for people who's lives are in danger at work.

People generally don't become violent from giving up smoking.
Prisoners are violent because they are violent people.

Alcoholic prisoners are not allowed to drink. Drug addicts are not allowed to shoot up. There are systems in place to manage this- tobacco is no different.

Talkinpeace Sat 21-Sep-13 16:18:44

Give them all hash brownies.
Stoned prisoners are much easier to manage and hash brownies do not cause passive smoking.

Lazysuzanne Sat 21-Sep-13 16:19:37

what about those e-cigarette things...could they be made available instead?

Talkinpeace Sat 21-Sep-13 16:23:01

e-cigarette : expensive and ideal weapons

passedgo Sat 21-Sep-13 21:54:47

Cigarettes are little more than a form of currency in prisons. They are part of a bartering system which keeps their hierarchy and pecking order working. They probably do it because they aren't given enough other things t;o keep them occupied. The Norwegian prisons sound as though they have got it right, they simply BORE them into rehabilitation.

Anyway, nobody ever died from not smoking.

KarenRChenard Mon 23-Sep-13 01:36:36

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

MiniMonty Mon 23-Sep-13 03:35:26

Put the OP in any UK women's prison cell (six by ten feet) sharing with another inmate.
Leave her in there for 23 hours a day.
Three months.
Give her nothing (because all prisoners get exactly nothing) for the first three months.
Then give her a packet of smokes and look in, watch and see how she behaves...

LOL to this idiocy, this naivety is disgusting to witness.

MiniMonty Mon 23-Sep-13 03:36:49

Baby - I'd love to lock you up....

MrsLion Mon 23-Sep-13 09:59:07

How does she behave?

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