14:52 20 September 2013
The Prison Service is considering the prohibition of smoking in all prisons in England and Wales. The move is believed to be linked to potential legal action by both inmates and staff who have suffered the effects of passive smoking. A pilot is expected to begin next year, with a ban likely by 2015.
A Prison Service spokesman said: "We are considering banning smoking across the prison estate and as part of this are looking at possible sites as early adopters."
However, Prison Service is expected to face challenges as its proposal is more likely to have an establishing effect. Andrew Neilson, from campaign charity the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: "Prisons are going through unprecedented budget cuts, prison resources, staff resources have been cut. There may well be good intentions behind this policy proposal, but it will undoubtedly put a lot of pressure on jails which are already pretty stretched."
He added that the smoking ban could have a short-term damaging effect on prisoners who are often very distressed.
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