More pluses from smoking ban in prison

Isaac Davidson at NZ Herald reports:

Corrections Minister Anne Tolley says a ban in prisons has drastically reduced fire-related incidents and dangerous activities, while improving air quality for inmates.

Mrs Tolley said safety in prisons had improved since lighters and matches had been taken from inmates a year ago.

Officials said fire-related incidents fell from 76 in 2010/11 to 21 in 2011/12.

The smoking ban was introduced in July last year after a 12-month campaign to encourage inmates to quit.

“It has also removed the opportunity for prisoners to use lighters to melt plastic into dangerous weapons,” Mrs Tolley said.

She said a study of Auckland Prison found air quality had improved significantly and fewer respiratory illnesses had been reported.

“Despite scaremongering before its introduction, the smoking ban has been a real success. Staff and prisoners will continue to be offered nicotine replacement therapy, as part of a wider plan to treat offenders with addictions.”

I recall the predictions of riots!

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