Riot fears as cigarettes set to be banned from prisons in England and Wales to stop passive smoking compensation claims from officers
Jails were exempt from 2007 ban but Prison Service to outlaw it 'within two years'
Daily Mail Reporter
01:55 GMT, 3 March 2013
02:16 GMT, 3 March 2013
Prisons could be set to follow the rest of the country in introducing a smoking ban, leading to fears of unrest among inmates
Prisoners are to be banned from smoking, sparking fears they might riot when they are stopped from lighting up, it was revealed today.
It is believed cigarettes will be outlawed from all 123 prisons in England and Wales within the next two years, according to the People.
The Prison Service is introducing the ban following a long campaign from staff, who have objected to breathing in the second-hand smoke of inmates.
Instead, the criminals will be
offered electronic cigarettes or nicotine patches to satisfy their
cravings but there are concerns this might not
be enough and that some will react angrily to the ban.
With more than eight out of ten prisoners smoking there is also a belief
contraband cigarettes could become valuable currency behind bars.
source is quoted in the paper as saying: 'It will happen. A pilot
scheme will have to go ahead first but after that we will see it coming
in at all prisons.
has always been the aim since the Government's smoke-free legislation
came into effect in 2007. Smoking has been a huge concern among staff,
who feel they are unfairly exposed to it.
'But you have to fear for them when this does come in because it is unlikely to go down very well with the inmates.'
bosses had hoped to ban smoking by January but the deadline has been
pushed back after a planned pilot at jails including at Exeter, Devon
was postponed, but they are confident of introducing it within the next
It is accepted
the ban must happen for health and safety reasons and to avoid officers
seeking compensation claiming to be victims of passive smoking.
Wormwood Scrubs Prison in west London would be one of 123 jails in England and Wales to ban smoking
escaped the smoking ban due to a legal loophole which allowed cells to
be designated 'permanent or temporary homes', but this is now set to be
Some jails already ban the habit for bad behaviour.
Three years ago jailed rapist Jack Foster, 25, made an unsuccessful claim under the Human Rights Act after he called his smoking ban 'inhuman'.
The Ministry of Justice would not comment on the timescale of the ban.