Following on from yesterday, hat tip to Audrey Silk for this:
Letter: Ban on tobacco in jails, prisons has caused major problems (Gazette)
Jun 29, 2018
Just recently I read an article about Oklahoma state Representative Rick West. Rep. West introduced a bill to dismantle the July 2012 ban on cigarette sales and smoking inside state prisons.
Representative West states, “It’s caused more problems and didn’t solve anything … . If the intent was that no smoking be allowed amongst the prisoners, that certainly didn’t happen. They’re smoking in there right now as we speak.”
Representative West is 100 percent correct. I’m an inmate and a smoker. There’s not a day that goes by that I’m unable to do so, as long as I have the money to spend on black market cigarettes.
The major issues that arose due to the smoking ban in West Virginia prisons far outweigh anything that could have been accomplished by the ban.
The ban has made West Virginia prisons extremely more violent. Incidents arise due to inmates accruing massive debt to other inmates, robbing other inmates to pay for cigarettes, assaulting inmates who they know have cigarettes.
Since the Division of Corrections and Regional Jail Authority implemented the smoking ban, officers have been fired for smuggling tobacco and tobacco products.
The ban also places another extreme workload on officers who are already overworked and underpaid. Now they must take time to search out and write rule violations for tobacco products.
For about two years, Corrections was actually giving inmates urine analysis tests and wasting huge amounts of taxpayer dollars on a nicotine test. Obviously, there is many more proactive uses for this wasted money.
Bottom line: Rep. West recognized the complete absurdity of a ban that can never be enforced and has caused multitudes of problems. He took action to correct the issue. Will West Virginia representatives take the action that’s necessary to do the same?
Ray F. Hillberry
Mount Olive Correctional Complex
Prisons are, in many ways, microcosms of the societies in which they are found. They are mirrors in which the wider society outside them can be seen reflected.
The only real difference is that the rest of us live in an open prison, and we get to elect our own guards every 4 or 5 years.
There’s no real difference between public smoking bans and prison smoking bans. Both are arbitrarily imposed from above by the unaccountable authorities in Tobacco Control. There’s nothing in the least bit democratic about either.
A century or so ago, the world’s eugenicist medical elites decided that people shouldn’t smoke tobacco or drink alcohol or eat a wide variety of proscribed foods. They also decided that there were a whole range of drugs that they shouldn’t consume either. And these self-appointed authorities have been trying ever since to impose their will on the whole prison planet.
But the last few centuries have also seen the regular overthrow of such authorities in one revolution after another. First the American Revolution, and then the French Revolution, and the Russian Revolution, and the Chinese Revolution, and countless other smaller revolutions, all of which were popular uprisings against arbitrary and unaccountable authorities.
Many of these revolutions were triggered by the imposition of onerous taxes on peoples. The American Revolution was set in motion by firstly a sugar tax, a stamp tax, and finally a tea tax.
And it’s the same today with the imposition of draconian tobacco taxes and smoking bans all over the world.
The inevitable result, I would like to suggest, is going to be a global revolution that will see the overthrow and complete destruction of the world’s self-appointed eugenicist medical elites, and most likely a lot of other elites as well.
The present rising populism in America and Europe is a portent of this coming revolution. It’s already seen the election of Donald Trump in the USA. And Trump is in many ways a new American revolutionary, not much different from George Washington or Paul Revere. And the current low-key civil war in the USA is the accompaniment to a new American revolution. It’s a populist revolt that is going to sweep Europe as well. And then everywhere else in the world.
And it’s as predictable as the periodic eruption of volcanoes, or the regular recurrence of ice ages.
Who guards the guards? Ultimately it’s the prisoners who hold their guards to account.