Protest and Suicide in Prison Smoking Ban

Rose’s comment today re-posted:

Prisoner Suicide Over Smoking Ban
April 12th, 2016

“A prisoner has killed himself after allegedly being stopped from smoking in Swansea jail.

Inmate Dean George, 40, was found dead in his cell at one of eight jails trialling the “no smoking” ban on health grounds.

Prison Service chiefs are investigating his death at Swansea prison which started the smoking ban four months ago.

Other prisoners say tensions are running high over the smoking ban – and that George had threatened to kill himself.

A partner of an inmate said: “Dean George was found dead because of the smoking ban. He told the staff he was going to do it.

“It’s human rights – they should be allowed to smoke.”

“Officers said Swansea Prison has been operating normally since going smoke free in January – and denied there has been large unrest over the smoking ban.”
Swansea Prison rooftop protest RECAP: Smoking ban blamed for incident
17th April 2016

THREE inmates staged a rooftop protest on Swansea prison – as friends outside blamed rising tensions inside on the facility’s smoking ban.

Onlookers said the men had first been spotted on the roof of the Oystermouth Road site some time before midday. They could been seen from the streets around the prison, apparently drinking from a bottle.
At least three fire crews were at the scene, as negotiators attempted to talk the men down.

“Their actions triggered shouting from other prisoners in their cells, and at least one could be seen throwing lit paper from between their bars into the prison grounds.”

“A partner of one of the men, who refused to be named, said: “He’s protesting over not having a burn – he’s desperate.

“He’s been climbing the walls for weeks and now he’s snapped over a fag.

“He’s kept his head down for months now – it’s all ruined because Swansea decided to pilot a no smoking ban.”

I don’t predict a riot: jail smoking ban need not spell unrest
By Deborah Arnott

23 July 2015

“Yet every time the idea of a ban is raised in the media, the headlines inevitably focus on fears of unrest and riots, rather than the health and wellbeing of inmates and staff.

The hypothesis that depriving smokers of tobacco could destabilise prisons may sound plausible, but there is little evidence to back it up. In fact, many prisons around the world have gone smoke-free with few problems, particularly if, as in New Zealand, this is accompanied by measures such as nicotine replacement therapy to support those who quit.

It is true that smoking rates are higher in prison. Up to 80 per cent of prisoners in the UK are tobacco users, which means that the level of exposure to second-hand smoke is very high. Furthermore, surveys show that most jailed smokers, like any other smokers, want to quit.”

This is utterly disgusting. These prisoners are being forced to stop smoking. We are always being told that nicotine is highly addictive, and so isn’t this like imposing cold turkey on heroin addicts?  It amounts to cruel and unusual punishment being inflicted on them, over and above the sentences they are already serving.

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23 Responses to Protest and Suicide in Prison Smoking Ban

  1. Phil says:

    Oh come on Frank – what’s the surprise here? You choose a career which allows you to exercise complete control over others then take the opportunity to force (in the case of 7 governers) your anti smoking beliefs on people who are vulnerable to your wishes and/or beliefs – sorry, doesn’t surprise me at all. Seen it before in hospitals.
    Disgusts me and repulses me but guess it’s par for the course with that type of person.


    • Frank Davis says:

      I suspect (but don’t know for sure) that the prison governors were instructed to ban smoking in the prison. The UK public smoking ban was imposed by government. The prison smoking ban is almost certainly an extension of this. It’s all top down control.

    • Rose says:

      The governers don’t have a choice.

      The government thought the prisons were immune to compensation claims as most of them are Crown property, but due to a ruling last year they still fall under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, which was an important piece of legislation to stop workers being doused in toxic chemicals or having their arms ripped off by machinery, which was then twisted and expanded by ASH under Clive Bates tenure to include secondhand smoke.

      The previous bunch of idiots having ratified the FCTC in 2004′ piously agreed to this –

      “Under Article 8.1 of the FCTC, ‘Parties recognize that scientific evidence has unequivocally established that exposure to tobacco smoke causes death, disease and disability’.
      Without time limit.


      “In a legal opinion obtained by ASH, J. Melville Williams QC suggests that not only has the date of guilty knowledge passed for employers, but also for the Health & Safety Executive and Commission.”
      http: //

      So the “date of guilty knowledge” has passed for the government too.

      Section 2(2)(e) of the 1974 Act places a specific duty on the employer in respect of employees:

      ‘to provide and maintain a safe working environment which is, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe, without risks to health and adequate as regards facilities and arrangements for their welfare at work.’

      The key factor in personal injury claims under the 1974 Act is not whether the employer in fact knew about the risks of particular substances or practices in the work place, but whether they ought to have known in the light of knowledge available at that time. This is the concept of ‘guilty knowledge’.
      http: //

      As being “smoking-related” has been claimed for just about every disease known to man by now, that’s a lot of compensation claims in prospect for the Government from Prison officers for the rest of their lives.

      But it would be difficult to make any compensation claim stick

      “The Green Paper ‘Towards a Europe free from tobacco smoke: policy options at EU level’, refers to the estimates of mortality attributable to passive smoking in the EU reported by Smoke-free Partnership in Lifting the Smoke-screen: 10 reasons for a smoke-free Europe.

      These estimates are based on the international evidence on the level of risk posed by exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and the estimated proportion of the population exposed rather than individual cases of deaths due to passive smoking.

      The nature of the epidemiological evidence on all risk factors, be they chemical or other, is such that it does not allow to identify the victims at individual level but only populations”.

      • DP says:

        Dear Rose

        Perhaps that nice Ms Arnott and Mr Bates could spend a week with the prisoners in each prison, explaining their policy to the prisoners and how good it is for all concerned.


        • Rose says:

          DP, it is a great wonder to me that they haven’t already been seconded to the prison service to help bed in the ban, as Deborah Arnott said, it’s all a matter of confidence.

          “It is essential that campaigners create the impression of inevitable success. Campaigning of this kind is literally a confidence trick: the appearance of confidence both creates confidence and demoralises the opposition”

  2. Harleyrider1978 says:

    Funny thing wardens have always used the smoking privilege in prison as a means to an end like keeping harmony in the prison!

  3. prog says:

    Given his stated intention, he should have been placed on suicide watch. They really don’t care, do they?

    • whatdoyou know says:

      so everyone who claims they will commit suicide should be placed on a constant watch allways? wouldnt leave very many officers to do anything else….

  4. Rose says:

    Government claims Swansea prison rooftop protest was not related to smoking ban
    April 18, 2016

    “But a spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said: “Three prisoners at HMP Swansea have voluntarily come down from the roof, following an incident on Sunday 17th April.
    “An investigation is underway, and all the prisoners have been moved to the segregation unit and will be stripped of their privileges.
    “This is not related to the recent smoking ban. We believe they were recovering contraband items.”

    The three men came down from the roof voluntary shortly after 4pm, and were all taken to the prison’s segregation unit.
    Despite claims recent issues in the prison are down to the trial smoking ban, the government has said yesterday’s incident was unrelated to the ban.”

    • Roobeedoo2 says:

      Contraband items, like cigarettes, do you think?

    • Joe L. says:

      Sounds like a miserable attempt at a PR coverup by the government. We’re supposed to believe the inmates climbed onto the roof (and stayed there in what continues to be described as a ‘protest’) simply to “recover contraband items?” Unless these ‘contraband items’ happened to be packs of cigarettes that someone tossed up onto the roof before the ban took effect, this doesn’t make any sense.

  5. Supergran says:

    Dirty interfering miserable bastards. Hope they riot and rip the governor’s head off and place it on a pole atop the roof (with a cig in its mouth) and we can titter uncontrollably when the media et al says “it has nothing to do with the smoking ban”

  6. DP says:

    Dear Rose

    “It amounts to cruel and unusual punishment being inflicted on them, over and above the sentences they are already serving.”

    The same applies to all other smokers who are quote exiled to the outdoors unquote, though they have committed no crime.

    The real criminals are the fraudsters who have managed to appropriate the levers of power to pursue an agenda of their own, whether to fulfil their puritanical zeal or merely exploit an opportunity for a nice, easy and lavish income and lifestyle.

    They are all sociopaths, who do not care what damage they inflict on others, so long as they get what they want.

    The question is: how do we defend ourselves from such scum?


    • Rose says:

      Tricky question, for me the answer is knowledge, who they really are, what they do and have done in the past, how they did it, I have to admit that I credited them with an intelligence they just didn’t have over passive smoking, Godber being the son of a tomato grower and all. Of course there’s a little bit of nicotine in every one’s food and if you look hard enough you will surely find it. But no, I am fairly certain that they didn’t even know something as basic as that until relatively recently.

      Wear internal armour and bend like the reed.

  7. smokingscot says:

    It’s dated 2013, but the ban on smoking in prisons in California came into force in 2004. They give prices for Camels at $200 a carton (or $20 a pack) and a pouch of tobacco at $200, presumably 50 g worth.

    (I believe in some prisons where security is ultra tight, it did hit $65 for a pack of ciggies)

    What Arnott and others do not quite grasp is some people are on whole life sentences and people like Myra Hindley knew there would never be a release. If I recall correctly she quite literally smoked herself to death, though her actual cause was Bronchial Pneumonia. Additionally some people are banged up yet have powerful activities they still run from prison, so a pack of fags at £40 is not really that big-a-deal. After all they have no need to complete a tax return, nor do they have to pay for food or shelter.

  8. jaxthefirst says:

    “It amounts to cruel and unusual punishment being inflicted on them, over and above the sentences they are already serving.”

    Now there’s an idea for the lawyer of any soon-to-be-sentenced criminal! I wonder how long it is before some bright spark legal-eagle stands up in court and – err – suggests to the judge that a defendant’s proposed prison sentence should be shortened by, say, a year or two (depending on the original estimate, of course), due to the fact that he/she will inevitably have to suffer “extra punishment” on top of the actual prison sentence by being enforced to give up cigarettes against his will, which non-smoking inmates won’t have to endure. Can you imagine the outcry when a gang of bank robbers all get sentenced to five years in jail, except for their two non-smoking gang-mates, who each get seven years to “make up for” the fact that they won’t have to suffer quite so much …. ??

  9. Rose says:

    H/T The Last Furlong

    Prison has “lost control” of smoking ban according to chief prison inspector – 2011

    “The Isle of Man Prison is Europe’s only completely non-smoking prison. The ban was introduced in 2008 following the prison’s move from Douglas to the north of the Island. The report, which has been published today, found that the total ban had resulted in a “large number of negative outcomes”.

    Nick explained: “Many prisoners appeared to be intensively and creatively engaged in circumventing the smoking ban.
    “They boiled up nicotine patches, soaked fruit peel or other substances in it and then rolled cigarettes from the resulting ‘tobacco’ in pages from dictionaries and bibles held together with toothpaste. Lights were obtained from kettle elements and electrical wiring.

    “We saw this happening in full view of staff and were satisfied it was a wide spread and long standing occurrence.”

    Ex-prisoners speak out on smoking ban
    Oct 2013

    “The Isle of Man’s prison authorities remain adamant the prison smoking ban is working, despite a number of claims to the contrary from ex prisoners.

    The prison’s deputy governor Nigel Fisher recently told the Isle of Man Newspapers the smoking ban was effectively enforced and a report two years ago claiming the situation was out of control with the ban routinely flouted was ‘somewhat exaggerated’.

    But following that statement a number of former inmates have contacted the paper to dispute this.

    ‘The lads make up their own cigarettes which is obviously 10 times more harmful – so it’s obviously not working,’ said Aaron Roberts from Anagh Coar who served a couple of weeks two years ago.

    He said cigarettes were often fashioned using Bible pages as cigarette papers stuck together using wood glue.

    ‘That’s using pages with ink on and glue so there are chemicals in there.’

    All former prisoners who contacted Isle of Man Newspapers said prisoners were using nicotine patches, issued to them to help them stop smoking, to make cigarettes. This was done by boiling them in water to extract the nicotine then soaking anything from tea bags to dried fruit peel or even fluff from the tumble drier – whatever was available – in the fluid. The substances were then dried out, shredded and used in place of tobacco.”

  10. Rose says:

    Metropolitan Remand Centre staff still off work after smoking ban riots
    April 6, 2016

    “DOZENS of prison staff traumatised by prisoners during Victoria’s smoking ban riots have not returned to work more than 10 months after the rampage.
    Prison guard union figures reveal 30 Metropolitan Remand Centre workers are battling stress, anxiety and depression and have been unable to work following the 14-hour siege in June last year.”

    “The cigarette ban continues to cause issues and taxpayer- funded nicotine patches have become black market currency fetching the equivalent of $10 in the canteen.

    Prisoners are making crude homemade cigarettes by boiling nicotine patches with tea leaves, which is dried out and wrapped in paper.
    Known as tea-bacco, it is feared burning and inhaling the adhesive could be toxic.
    Prisoners are also destroying government-supplied electrical appliances to light the homemade smokes.

    Corrections Victoria spokesman Michael Gleeson said staff welfare was of “utmost importance” but said quitting smoking presented an ongoing challenge for inmates.”

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