NSW prisons to become smoke-free zones as smoking and tobacco has been banned in them. All tobacco-related products will be banned inside and outside of the prison premises.
Prison staff will be on standby in case there is any repeat of the rioting when Victoria introduced a similar ban. On June 30, 300 prisoners at the Metropolitan Remand Center in Raven hall brandished sticks, bashed in doors and windows and lit fires in a demonstration linked to Victoria's introduction of a prison smoking ban.
Therefore the NSW prison area police had been alerted to the potential for disquiet among the prison's 550 inmates. Because the inmates had been placed for nicotine replacement therapy in the lead-up to the ban.
South Coast Correctional Center general manager Ian Farquhar said, "NSW Corrective Services has been liaising with local police to ensure they are fully aware of our preparations and emergency plans prior to the introduction of the smoke free policy. Staff have been engaging with inmates to identify any areas of concern and arranging these discussions have been positive and we will continue to engage with inmates.''
Up to 76% of the state's prison population are smokers.Inmates have been able to purchase tobacco until now through a weekly buy-up operated by the commercial arm of Corrective Services NSW, Corrective Services Industries. 62% of SCCC inmates began using nicotine replacement therapy, which has been made available free-of-charge to everyone at the prison including staff.
The ban is a legislative requirement intended to benefit inmates, staff and visitors to NSW prisons. Counseling, telephone support are also a part of the strategy to help inmates quit smoking. These strategies have already been a successful smoke-free policies in Queensland and New Zealand.
"Inmates have been provided with a range of outdoor and indoor activities as alternatives to smoking, including sports equipment, competitions and playing cards," said officials of Corrective Services.