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New South Wales Corrective Services aims to go smoke-free by July 2014.
Earlier this year, a new $100 million maximum security wing, designed to be smoke free, opened at Cessnock Jail in the Hunter Valley. Corrective Services Commissioner, Peter Severin, announced plans to phase in a total smoking ban in the facility, which would eventually roll out across New South Wales.
But Public Service Association spokesman, Stewart Little says it will not work until cigarettes are declared contraband. ‘It's difficult, I mean the prison environment is quite conducive to smoking,' he said. ‘If the state government wants to meet its target of jails being smoke-free by July 2014, there needs to be a 12 month lead in phase and funding for nicotine patches and other support measures.'
Mr Little said that the poilcy to ban smoking would ‘... obviously create a lot of challenges for us. It's something that concerns us, because there has been discussion that by July 1, 2014 all the prisons across the state, there's 27 of them, would go smoke-free.'
‘You've got 10,000 inmates in those jails, so if we're going to have a 12 month lead in, we'd need to know whether the government is fair dinkum and whether they're going to provide the resources to Justice Health.' Mr Little said.
Corrective Services says creating smoke-free jails is a complex initiative that is being planned in conjunction with the Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network. A start date for the scheme is yet to be confirmed.
Source: ABC news