Prison fag ban ahead
New Zealand is to ban smoking in prisons from 1 July 211. Corrections Minister Judith Collins said high levels of smoking were a risk to staff and prisoners. Opponents are concerned that violence in prisons could increase if prisoners are denied tobacco. Prisoners are to be given stop-smoking courses, and nicotine patches, to help them deal with withdrawal symptoms and quit over the next 12 months, reports said. Human Rights lawyer Michael Bott said the ban would cause more problems than it might solve. “They are going to be very frustrated, very dangerous; it’s a toxic dangerous environment, made even worse by such foolishness as this,” Bott told 3News. But Collins retorted: “This is a prison. It’s not home. So it will be a total ban across all prisons. Not in the cells, not even out in the yard.” About 5,7 prisoners — two-thirds of the current total in New Zealand prisons — are smokers.