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Monday, 10 August 2015
Smoking will be banned for staff, inmates and visitors in all NSW correctional centres from today, in an initiative that aims to provide a healthier workplace for Corrective Services staff and reduce the harms caused by smoking and tobacco smoke.
Common areas in prison buildings are already smoke-free, and the ban has now been extended to include inmates’ cells and outdoor areas. Under the new rules, cigarettes, tobacco and smoking-related items such as matches, lighters and e-cigarettes will be banned from prisons and treated like all other contraband.
Corrective Services staff will not be able to smoke at work under the ban, but those who live on site – such as in remote locations like Ivanhoe and Brewarrina – will be able to smoke at home when they’re off duty, in a designated area outside their residential accommodation that is not visible from the correctional centre.
The transition to smoke-free correctional centres has been in planning for more than 12 months and follows successful smoke-free rollouts in other jurisdictions including Queensland, the Northern Territory and New Zealand. Lessons learned from the disturbance in Victoria and an independent analysis by Queensland Corrective Services indicates that Corrective Services NSW is ready for the rollout. Emergency management plans are in place to mitigate and respond to any disruption.
Smoke-free workplace committees in all correctional centres have developed local implementation plans for each centre. Inmates have been an integral part of the project and have assisted in getting the message out via video messaging, posters, flyers and peer support roles.
About 76% of the NSW inmate population smoke, compared with 17% of the general population, and around 85% of the inmates who smoke have said that they’d like to quit. To help their transition, nicotine replacement therapy and other assistance is available for staff and inmates. Many staff and inmates have already taken up support services including nicotine patches and the Quitline. The Justice Health & Forensic Mental Health Network, which provides health care in prisons, has identified at-risk inmates and developed individual case management and care plans to help them give up smoking.
Corrective Services NSW has developed a suite of resources for people who are affected by the smoke-free initiative. The resources include a fact sheet for family and friends who are supporting a person who is giving up smoking, and information to help visitors to correctional centres understand the new rules.
More information about the smoke-free project, including the support resources, is available at www.correctiveservices.justice.nsw.gov.au/smoke-free-prisons.
More information about the smoke-free project, including support resources, is available at www.correctiveservices.justice.nsw.gov.au/smoke-free-prisons.