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.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:
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.
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?