Prison World

I feel a strong kinship with prisoners in prison. They’re people who’ve been expelled from society. And so am I.

The only real difference is that they live in closed prisons, and I live in an open prison.

An open prison (open jail) is any jail in which the prisoners are trusted to serve their sentences with minimal supervision and perimeter security and are not locked up in prison cells. Prisoners may be permitted to take up employment while serving their sentence.

In the UK, open prisons are often part of a rehabilitation plan for prisoners moved from closed prisons.[1]They may be designated “training prisons” and are only for prisoners considered a low risk to the public.

In fact it’s more like (hat tip to smokingscot) Love Island:

IN last year’s Love Island more sparks flew on the smoking terrace than in the bedroom – drawing a raft of complaints from viewers.

So this year ITV has taken decisive action by banning fags in both the villa and garden.

 …when contestants want a cig they’ll have to ask a producer who will take them to a designated smoking shelter away from the villa. And as if having to sit in a bus stop-style hut wasn’t bad enough, they will have to do it alone.

The bus stop-style hut is a little prison. A solitary prison. It’s also an “open” prison: it has no walls. The outcast from society is kept there apart. He or she is only permitted to return when they have become reformed characters, given up their evil ways, and stubbed out their cigarettes.

For the past few months I’ve been writing to my MP about the smoking bans being introduced in UK prisons. A month or so ago I sent the following email:

Dear X,

Thank you for your letter of 8 January, which included a letter from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, written on 8 December 2017.

However, on 19 December 2017, the Guardian reported that:

A prisoner suffering from poor health has lost his attempt to enforce the smoking ban in English and Welsh jails after the supreme court ruled that crown premises are effectively exempt from the enforcement of health regulations.

The unanimous judgment from the UK’s highest court will prevent the inmate, Paul Black, from calling the NHS’s smoke-free compliance line to report breaches of the ban.

Lady Hale, the president of the supreme court, said she was driven with “considerable reluctance” to conclude that when parliament passed the 2006 Health Act, prohibiting smoking in offices, bars and enclosed areas, it did not mean to extend it to government or crown sites.

The standard practice is that a statutory provision does not bind the crown unless legislation adopts words explicitly stating so or by what is known as “necessary implication”.

“Had parliament intended part 1 of chapter 1 of the 2006 act to bind the crown, nothing would have been easier than to insert such a provision,” Hale explained.

“The report of the health committee [at the time] does indicate that parliament was alive to the question of whether the smoking ban would bind the crown and aware of the case for further exemptions if the act were to do so.

“It might well be thought desirable, especially by and for civil servants and others working in or visiting government departments, if the smoking ban did bind the crown,” she added. “But the legislation is quite workable without doing so.”

In the absence of any further information, may I take it that, subsequent to this ruling by the Supreme Court, UK prison smoking bans are now no longer in effect, and prisoners are able to smoke in all the places they used to be able to prior to the introduction of these unfortunate and unnecessary bans.

Best wishes,

Y

Yesterday I received a reply from him with an accompanying response  from the Ministry of Justice (click on it to enlarge):

I thought it was interesting that, although I didn’t sign my name as Frank Davis, the Ministry of Justice referred to me as such. I think they want me to know that they know exactly who I am, and also exactly where I live.

Anyway it seems that, although Parliament exempted the crown from the provisions of the 2006 Public Health Act, Her Majesty’s Prisons will have smoking prohibited in them anyway, by Statutory Instrument.

Following the 2016 EU membership referendum and the subsequent publication of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, there has been concern that its powers enabling ministers to issue statutory instruments under the bill may enable the government to bypass Parliament. Although this has been criticised by some as being undemocratic, draft regulations must be “laid before” Parliament, which may always demand a full debate on contentious issues.

It seems that these Statutory Instruments are just ways in which new legislation can be enacted, if Parliament chooses not to debate it, even if the new legislation entirely contradicts previous legislation.

And if smoking ban applies to the Crown, does that mean that the Queen can’t smoke in her own palace either? Is she also a prisoner in her own palace? Is it another “open” prison? And if she is not a prisoner, then might she not become one at the stroke of a pen beneath a new Statutory Instrument that makes her one?

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About Frank Davis

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22 Responses to Prison World

  1. buckothemoose says:

    As if there was a raft of complaints from viewers. It would have been a couple of snot nosed complaints from tobacco controllers. Why must these complete dicks always get their way?

  2. Joe L. says:

    I thought it was interesting that, although I didn’t sign my name as Frank Davis, the Ministry of Justice referred to me as such. I think they want me to know that they know exactly who I am, and also exactly where I live.

    Hold on here … So how did they determine your name? Have you at any time in your correspondence with your MP provided identifying information? If not, that’s quite unsettling.

    • Frank Davis says:

      You need to provide your name and address when writing to an MP, so that they can reply. If nothing else, they want to know if you’re one of their constituents. If you aren’t, they probably won’t reply.

      As for my name, I use my real name. The letter was signed Christopher Davis, because that’s my first name. Francis is my second name, which I only use in this blog and with people I know through this blog. I quite often sign my name as C F Davis.

      Somebody in the Ministry of Justice has connected up a few dots, and realised that I must be the blogger Frank Davis.

      • Joe L. says:

        Ah, now I understand. But it doesn’t make it any less unsettling. It’s very Orwellian.

        I wonder whether the Ministry of Justice did their research on you after receiving your letter, or if you’ve been on the government’s radar for some time.

        Nevertheless, it goes to show that our governments are well aware of the power of free speech and the influence that blogs like yours can have. They may not be very good at tracking potential terrorist activities through internet communications, but you can rest assured they’re keeping a watchful eye on peaceful bloggers who expose the fraud that is the Antismoking movement.

        • Frank Davis says:

          Yes, it is a bit Orwellian. Their letter sent a message. It may not have been a message just to me, but also to my MP, telling him “This guy who’s been writing to you is a known smoking activist. Please don’t humour him by doing his bidding, or else you may find yourself in trouble”. I’ll be interested to see whether there’ll be a change in his attitude to me.

          One of the things that I really liked about my MP is that I heard him say, in a little townhall meeting shortly before the Brexit vote, that he “wanted to represent his constituents”. And that is of course the job of MPs. It’s just that most of them seem to have very little interest in doing their job.

        • Joe L. says:

          It may not have been a message just to me, but also to my MP, telling him “This guy who’s been writing to you is a known smoking activist. Please don’t humour him by doing his bidding, or else you may find yourself in trouble”.

          I wouldn’t be surprised if the MoJ sent their response to your MP to forward to you along with a separate letter addressed to your MP stating the above explicitly.

  3. Inspector Alleyne says:

    Thankfully I retired from the Prison Service over fifteen years ago but about a year before I left some obnoxious young Governor tried to make a name for himself by banning smoking throughout the prison. The backlash from the staff was enough to stop him dead in his tracks and shortly afterwards he was moved on.
    The overwhelming majority of staff and inmates in those days were smokers but today it would appear that nobody dares to question the dangerous consequences of these blatantly incompetent edicts.

  4. Smoking Lamp says:

    The lifestyle controllers are keen on removing all freedoms in their quest for a totalitarian ‘utopia’. The problem is they are imposing their will through the use of fraud (including outright lies and exaggeration), propaganda, suppression of dissent, and overt persecution. Once the freedom to smoke was removed indoors it is a short step to increasingly draconian outdoor bans and restrictions om other pleasures (food, meat, sugar, alcohol, vaping, etc.). Tobacco control must be destroyed and freedoms returned or all the world will be a gulag.

  5. Joe L. says:

    OT: Yet another study finds lung cancer rates inexplicably rising among young never-smokers.

    Lung cancer rates in young women raise concerns

    Excerpt:

    Lung cancer rates have been historically higher among men than women, but new research reveals that trend has flipped in younger Americans. Over the past two decades, while lung cancer rates have generally gone down, women ages 30 to 54 have seen less of a benefit.

    “All of a sudden within the last 10 to 15 years, women are at greater risk of being diagnosed with lung cancer than men,” Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, told CBS News. “We really don’t know why this is and we are going to do further research. We have looked at smoking issues, and smoking patterns don’t fully explain this.”

    • Lepercolonist says:

      The American Cancer Society finally admits they have no explanation. There are many aspects of lung cancer that remain a mystery. These young women have been brainwashed into believing they will never contract lung cancer. It is not settled science.

      • Rose says:

        It would be very interesting to know whether these new lung cancer cases are spread uniformly or still mostly in the cities.
        Since this debate began in the UK there was always a rural urban divide and I’d like to know if it’s still there.

        1953
        “Bessy Braddock, Labour MP for Liverpool Exchange, favoured an environmental explanation, and therefore found the urban–rural divide a barrier to acceptance of the smoking–lung cancer connection.
        ‘In view of the fact that cigarette and pipe smoking goes on all over the country, it is folly to say that it is the main cause of lung cancer.’

        “The text of a TV broadcast on the subject in 1953 after publication of the Doll–Hill research on smoking and lung cancer in 1950 gives a sense of the focus on both individual and environment.
        Introduced by Charles Fletcher, later famous for his pioneering Your Life in Their Hands, the programme was called Matters of Medicine.

        Dr Guy Scadding, taking part, expressed the views clearly:smoking cannot be called the cause of lung cancer, since non-smokers also get the disease, and moreover the increase in cigarette smoking is not likely to be the only cause of the increase in the lung cancer death rate.

        “The effect of smoking cannot explain the difference in mortality between town and country
        dwellers.
        http://fds.oup.com/www.oup.co.uk/pdf/0-19-926030-3.pdf

        Testimony of Dr Hueper 1957

        “They manipulated the evidence. Anyone who introduces a corrective factor in his calculations to make the evidence fit a preconceived idea, I do not feel that this is valid scientific evidence.”

        “However, even this estimate is heavily biased by the arbitrary assumption that the benzpyrene content present allegedly in cigarette smoke was about 12 times as effective in eliciting cancers as benzpyrene demonstrated in atmospheric air.

        Only when such a “corrective” coefficient is applied was it possible to obtain proportional correlations between the total exposure to benzpyrene from both cigarette smoking and air pollutants and the relative incidence rates of lung cancer found in the industrialized metropolitan Liverpool area, an intermediary urban-rural region, and the rural area of North Wales”
        https://www.industrydocumentslibrary.ucsf.edu/docs/#id=lkdg0096

        The Urban Distribution of Lung Cancer Mortality in England and Wales 1980-1983

        “Lung cancer area mortality rates for the period 1980-1983 in England and Wales followed the pattern observed for previous years, with high rates concentrated in urban districts and low rates in remote rural districts.”
        http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00420988820080661

        And even their benzpyrene theory seems to have failed as an explanation.

        2006
        “Actually, criterion 1) was first directed only at B[a]P. Previous studies highlighted the concern that some regulatory bodies had in attempting to understand why lung cancer and other forms of cancer seemed more prevalent in smokers.

        But cigarette smoking alone could not reconcile the evidence. Social, ethnic, environmental, and economic factors are also very important in understanding the entire biological effect. In fact, the level of B[a]P in CSC could only explain about 2% of its specific tumorigenicity observed in skinpainted mice and the combination of the levels of all the known tumorigenic PAHs in CSC could only explain about 3% of its tumorigenicity.

        “Despite an 18-month study in the late 1950s, the search for a “supercarcinogen” in MSS and CSC to explain the observed biological effects was unsuccessful. In addition, the exceptional study on MSS PAHs by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) personnel in the 1970s indicated no “supercarcinogen” was present. Only recently has the concept of complex mixtures in relation to the understanding of the complexity of carcinogenesis taken hold.

        Perhaps the reason why MSS is less tumorigenic than expected in humans is because of the presence of other MSS components that inhibit or prevent tumorigenesis. For example, it is well known that MSS contains numerous anticarcinogens present in quantifies significantly greater than those of the PAHs of concern. When one reviews the history of these four PAHs in MSS or CSC it is clear that many unanswered questions remain.”
        https://www.coresta.org/abstracts/composition-cigarette-smoke-chronology-studies-four-polycyclic-aromatic-hydrocarbons-2245

        • Some French bloke says:

          Your 1st link (pdf) doesn’t work. Apparently the same contents can be found here: “The Policy Response to the Smoking and Lung Cancer Connection in the 1950s and 1960s”, by Virginia Berridge.

          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2829889/

        • Rose says:

          Thank you.
          If I remember correctly that first link was to “Public Health in the 1950s: The Watershed of Smoking and Lung Cancer” by Virginia Berridge, I clearly forgot to check the link.

        • RdM says:

          Thanks Rose;- SFB’s alternative link didn’t seem quite right, part way through it – but
          https://www.google.com/search?q=“The+Watershed+of+Smoking+and+Lung+Cancer”+by+Virginia+Berridge

          seems to have appropriate hits in the first couple of results.

          NB: I stripped out everything existing in my search URL result after the bare link above, changed google.co.nz to google.com to make it universal, plain simple and short (ref SS with a Samsung tablet in Cyprus!) – and re-checked the result, without all the tracking, to make sure it works. It does…

          May I suggest that anyone about to post a Google search result URL considers that!
          Observe how much extra it tags on to the link beyond the bare essentials…
          And the .com will change to the readers local country, likely enough.

        • RdM says:

          I see that that link gets broken in WordPress, or is it Google breaking it?
          Works perfectly in my Chrome browser – copy/paste? Sorry about that!

          Or via tinyurl, this same search works
          https://tinyurl.com/V-Berridge (I meant to make it an underscore!)
          Or, by Let Me Google That For You, fun to send to friends, or sardonically… ;=})
          Or in reply to idiot questions by idiots – none of those apply here, but as a demo;-)
          http://bfy.tw/IIfr

          (I have yet to check out those first two links, but they look good.)

          ~ Ross

        • RdM says:

          Sorry again about that!
          I meant that I hadn’t checked the search result articles, not my alternative search links.
          Well, one was disappointing, requesting an email address to apply for the article.
          The other as least has a DOI number…
          http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199260300.001.0001/acprof-9780199260300

          Which one could paste in to
          http://sci-hub.tw/

        • RdM says:

          And finally…
          here’s a link that should keep up to date with available sci-hub servers.
          https://sci-hub.love/

          I had to look all over again, running a live linux dvd….
          When it crashes, all memory is lost!

        • RdM says:

          Hmm, well, final apologies again!
          sci-hub didn’t seem to have a download opportunity, although it appeared to show the cover, with a confusing array of options. I didn’t get anywhere with it.

          So I went back to the other Google search result,
          https://www.researchgate.net/publication/300892768_Public_Health_in_the_1950s_The_Watershed_of_Smoking_and_Lung_Cancer

          and made a request for the full text, filled in the form, email address & all that.
          Pensioner researcher t home, in the office…
          We’ll see what happens if and when it does.

    • Frank Davis says:

      “We really don’t know why this is”

      How refreshing to hear someone say “I don’t know”. I wish more people would be prepared that.

    • Philip Neal says:

      Lung cancer rates are now higher in younger women than in younger men.

      This pattern is also seen in British data which I recently looked at as part of my work on Philip Burch. His elegant curve, showing that lung cancer rates peak and fall in old age, fits national statistics up to 2015 as neatly as ever, but lung cancer rates in men fell earlier and more sharply than in women with the result that, since 2010, men below the age of 50 have had lower absolute rates of the disease than women the same age for reasons having to do with the slope of the male and female curves.

  6. Pingback: Who? | Frank Davis

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