Continuing My Protest Against UK Prison Smoking Bans

My response to the recent email from my MP about UK prison smoking bans:

Dear  X,

Thank you for your email of 26 October with its appended letter from the Ministry of Justice. However I am not reassured.

What disturbed me most about the appended letter was that it concentrated entirely upon matters of health, with no mention of any matters of justice.

For what is being done to Britain’s prisoners seems to me to be deeply unjust. They are being forced to stop smoking. They are being coerced. It is simply disingenuous of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice to have written that

all necessary healthcare support is available to help prisoners give up smoking

and

HMPPS fully appreciates how difficult quitting smoking can be for some prisoners

when stopping smoking is always going to be ‘difficult’ for prisoners who don’t want to stop smoking – in exactly the same way that parting with their wallets is always going to be ‘difficult’ for the victims of muggers or pickpockets. It’s something that they simply don’t want to do.

Furthermore what HMPPS is doing to Britain’s prisoners is no different from what led to many of those prisoners being sent to prison in the first place – using force or the threat of force to get their way. In what way can there be any hope of reforming any of these prisoners, if they are treated in the same inconsiderate and unjust way as they treated the victims of their crimes?

Aside from these considerations of elementary justice, I entirely fail to see that anyone’s health – prisoners or wardens – is going to see any improvement at all, given that, according to the Guardian of 26 October 2017:

Violence in prisons has increased to record levels, according to new figures released by the Ministry of Justice, with 27,193 incidents of assault and serious assault in the year to June 2017.

Over the same period, there were 41,103 incidents of self-harm, with a rise of 10% in April, May and June compared with the previous quarter…

There were 300 deaths in custody in the 12 months to September 2017. Of those 77 were self-inflicted

Given a UK prison population of 80,000 prisoners, it would seem that prisoners have a 34% chance of being assaulted, and a 51% chance of self-harm, and a 0.375% chance of dying while in prison. The likelihood of anyone being harmed by tobacco smoke must be something like 0.0001% or less. Shouldn’t HMPPS be concentrating on the growing and serious problem of prison violence instead of the utterly trivial problem of smoking in prisons – particularly since these smoking bans are already known to be a cause of some of this violence?

If the British government persists in this folly, I will expect to see our prisons explode, and do so quite predictably and justifiably.

Best wishes,

Y

Letters like this won’t change anything at all, of course. But they will exert a slight pressure.

The good thing about this letter is that my MP will make sure that the British government hears about it. Although this wasn’t enough for Joe L:

Frank, while I think it’s great that you currently have a responsive MP, I must ask if he provided any insight along with the forwarded letter from the MoJ, or if he gave you any guidance as to what you should do next, or better yet, what he could do to further help you?

Having a responsive representative is great (and sadly a rarity these days), however he’s not very much help if he simply acts as a courier, forwarding emails back and forth between you and other departments of government.

My view, at the moment, is that I’m just glad to have an MP who will pass on my concerns to the government. He’s actually doing his job! And in my experience, that’s a first. When I’ve written to other MPs, they’ve usually replied saying they didn’t agree (with me about whatever I was writing to them about).

Perhaps I might try asking him in some future email if he can provide any guidance or advice as to whom I might contact next, or where else I might inquire. I haven’t asked him anything like that so far.

Advertisements

About Frank Davis

smoker
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Continuing My Protest Against UK Prison Smoking Bans

  1. smokingscot says:

    Neat coincidence Frank. Report published today tells us they’re pretty close to useless at reform and too many people being put behind bars for very short sentences, sometimes until their trial. So even those not proven as culprit will be caught up in this travesty.
    http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/chief-inspector-of-prisons-warns-of-rehabilitation-failure-1-4602601

  2. Rose says:

    Nobody likes nicotine and nobody wants it, not even the animals they tried testing on in exchange for food.
    Testing it on prisoners will make no difference.

    What the prisoners are doing is trying to turn nicotine into vitamin B3, which we like very much.

    “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.”
    http: //isleofman.com/News/details/16728/prison-has-lost-control-of-smoking-ban-according-to-chief-prison-inspector

    Smoking ban is blamed for huge rise in violence in prisons as black-market tobacco sells for £150 an ounce and inmates use BIBLES to roll illicit cigarettes
    2 November 2017

    “Inmates are being offered nicotine replacement therapy, access to e-cigarettes and behavioural support to assist them as the smoking ban comes in across prisons.”

    “Sheila Kimmins, chairwoman of the independent monitoring board at HMP Erlestoke, said the ban has been ‘a good thing’ – but tobacco is now selling at £150 an ounce.”

    “Mrs Kimmins added that many prisoners were now becoming Christians because of the smoking ban, saying: ‘Our chaplain had a big call on Bibles.
    ‘He had had so many conversions because people want a Bible because it is very thin paper and perfect for roll-ups. He had to find Bibles made of reconstituted paper.’
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5042119/Smoking-ban-blamed-huge-rise-violence-prisons.html

    Nicotine was first oxidized to Nicotinic Acid / Vitamin B3 by Huber in 1867, I can’t think how ASH and it’s prohibitionist chums could have possibly missed that.

    • waltc says:

      Tell the Authorities that, and they’ll just give the prisoners vitamins,

      Yes, Frank. Ask him who else you can contact. And next time you see an item about this in a newspaper, email a letter to the editor with those stats about violence and suicide

      • Rose says:

        Anti-tobacco continues to insist that there is nothing good in tobacco and nicotine is the only thing that makes people smoke, so Authorities that make policy on their pronouncements still can’t recognise vitamin B3.

        To say so officially would be heresy.

  3. Rose says:

    Rather than 0prisoners boiling up nicotine patches and setting fire to the resulting dried out tea leaf mixture, Lorillard did enrich experimental cigarettes with even more niacin, presumably made from tobacco waste.
    They discovered that the niacin passed through the fire unchanged.

    It occured to me that it might save a lot of messing about with nicotine patches if instead the prisoners tried sprinkling the dried out tea leaves with small amounts of brewers yeast, before rolling them up.

    An Interesting thing left over from my researches on Brewer’s yeast.

    Make your own Marmite
    Ingredients

    A litre of brewer’s yeast (top fermentation from a brewery)
    A little sea salt
    1 onion, diced
    2 carrots, diced
    1 turnip, diced
    1/2 celery stick, diced

    Method

    Put a litre of brewer’s yeast with a little salt, in a bain-marie.
    Simmer at blood heat, 30 to 40ºC for ten hours or overnight.
    Then simmer this mixture at 50 to 60ºC for 2 to 3 hours.
    Boil at low temperature 90ºC for half an hour. (In the factory they have a special machine for this, or you could ascend a mountain of 10,000ft, to achieve low altitude boiling)
    Filter though coffee papers or a sieve and cheesecloth
    Let it cool for a day or so. It separates further.
    Filter again.
    You then want to convert it to a paste. This is best achieved by putting it in a large flat pan and simmering. On an Aga, you can simply leave the pan on the lid for a few hours. Keep an eye on the mixture.
    Meanwhile boil up all the vegetables until they are cooked. Strain off the liquid and incorporate into the Marmite paste.

    Let the mixture reduce into a Marmite like texture. Do not allow it to burn.

    The entire process takes about ten days.”
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/08/10/marmite-could-prevent-miscarriages-birth-defects/

  4. beobrigitte says:

    For what is being done to Britain’s prisoners seems to me to be deeply unjust. They are being forced to stop smoking. They are being coerced. It is simply disingenuous of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice to have written that

    all necessary healthcare support is available to help prisoners give up smoking

    and

    HMPPS fully appreciates how difficult quitting smoking can be for some prisoners

    There is a multitude of reasons why people end up in prison with all that this entails, often for quite some time. A prison guard’s work therefore can’t be easy and I do know (from one of my offspring’s great uncle who worked as a prison guard) that violence is not uncommon, so I do find it difficult to believe that a prison guard’s association asked for a smoking ban in prisons for health reasons.
    I would like some transparency retrospectively how this lunacy of smoking ban in prisons came about.
    Yesterday Rose posted this link:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/pa/article-2980620/Prisoner-awaits-smoking-ban-ruling.html
    A repeat sex offender (and twice rapist, one of his victims being 14 years old at the time of the offence) demanding smoking bans in prisons:
    Black, an inmate at HMP Wymott in Lancashire, originally won a High Court declaration in 2015 that the legal ban on smoking in public places under that Act must also be applied to state prisons and other Crown premises in England and Wales.
    But appeal judges later allowed a Government challenge against that decision, ruling that the Crown was not bound by the Act and the ban, which came into force in July 2007, did not apply in public sector prisons.

    If the public pays for his legal representation, what solicitor would take on such a case? Only a beginner or a totally broke one. Or a total anti-smoking/anti-smoker recommended one.
    It is unrealistic that prisoners themselves take action when it comes to smoking in prisons as they make their own lives a lot more difficult.

    And sure enough, in ASH News you can read:
    Prisoner takes fight against smoking in jails to Supreme Court

    An inmate at a Lancashire prison is taking his battle to ban smoking in prisons to the Supreme Court.

    Originally, prisoner Paul Black had won a High Court case in 2015, which found that the 2006 ban on smoking in public and workplaces should apply to prisons. However the Government subsequently challenged the decision successfully in the Court of Appeal.

    Following the ruling of the Court of Appeal, a spokesman for the Prison Service said that the revised ruling meant that prisons could go smokefree in a “safe and secure way”. The case will now be heard before a panel of five Supreme Court justices.

    Source: Leigh Observer, 31 October 2017
    http://ash.org.uk/media-and-news/ash-daily-news/ash-daily-news-31-october-2017/

    Looks like the Ashites really are these despicable people who get others to do their dirty work:
    http://ash.org.uk/media-and-news/press-releases-media-and-news/ash-welcomes-government-plans-for-prisons-to-go-smokefree/
    How odd, considering in the above ASH News there is to read:
    Originally, prisoner Paul Black had won a High Court case in 2015, which found that the 2006 ban on smoking in public and workplaces should apply to prisons.
    However the Government subsequently challenged the decision successfully in the Court of Appeal.

    Am I the only one with a list of questions?

  5. beobrigitte says:

    Sorry, Frank, my comment had a link too much and is not visible….

    Thanks!!

  6. RdM says:

    On 1 July 2011, tobacco products, matches and lighters became unauthorised items in New Zealand prisons.

    But that decision didn’t roll over without a constitutional legal fight by a non-smoking inmate at Auckland Prison.

    Described in the media as a career criminal, Arthur Taylor who is not a lawyer, challenged the validity of the rule imposed by prison managers under the Corrections Act 2004, which he took to the High Court and successfully won.

    The Government didn’t budge, and responded by changing the law over a year later, with clauses in Corrections Amendment Regulations 2012 declaring tobacco and equipment used for smoking tobacco to be unauthorised items, removing “tobacco” as a privilege.

    https://www.lawsociety.org.nz/news-and-communications/latest-news/news/prisons-five-years-smoke-free

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1307/S00033/prisons-in-nz-will-remain-smokefree-following-court-decision.htm

    And so it goes…the machinery of the State.

  7. RdM says:

    With apologies;- amusing electronic images taken from a more sensible post:
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/11/01/global-temperature-continues-to-cool/
    Also:
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/11/01/new-zealand-to-introduce-a-climate-refugee-visa/

    But hopefully not… is there any intelligence left in Intelligence or Foreign Affairs, or …
    Internal, infernal Affairs?

    Only if they’re advised or informed or written to, I increasingly think, so good on you, Frank!
    I intend to write to mine ASAP, gathering thoughts references and resources in preparation.

    Slow…

  8. RdM says:

    Leonard Cohen – Slow (other dancers though) – from Popular Problems, 2014.

  9. Pingback: The Upstart Empire of Health | Frank Davis

  10. Pingback: Prison | Frank Davis

No need to log in

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s