centres to quit smoking
After a successful pilot at Lithgow Correctional Centre, from August 2015, smoking will be banned in all NSW correctional centres.
The NSW Attorney General and Minister for Justice Brad Hazzard – with support from Health Minister Jillian Skinner – made the announcement on 20 August 2014.
The rate of smoking among inmates is around 75 – 80 per cent, while in the broader community it is around 17 per cent and declining.
"NSW has substantially cleaned up its act on smoking and now it's time for the same thing to happen inside the prison gates," Mr Hazzard said.
"Inmates should have the same healthy lifestyle opportunities that those outside enjoy, and take that with them when they return to the community."
In a letter to CSNSW staff Commissioner Peter Severin said "this will be one of the biggest changes ever introduced into New South Wales correctional centres".
"We'll be closely following the model for change that has been used successfully in other places, for example New Zealand which went smoke-free in 2011," Mr Severin said.
"We'll also look at other jurisdictions including Queensland where the ban started earlier this year. We will carefully assess what works best and adopt those practices for our system."
Cancer Council NSW CEO Jim L'Estrange said "smoking rates are significantly higher in NSW prisons compared to the general population and it's great to see the Government taking this important measure to protect non-smoking prisoners and staff from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke".
Commissioner Severin said that there will be extensive consultation with CSNSW staff, inmates and their families, and health authorities over the next 12 months.
Funding has been allocated to provide Nicotine Replacement Therapy.