Has the prison smoking ban actually worked?
In 2015, the Metropolitan Remand Centre in Melbourne’s west was in flames.
During a 15-hour rampage, around 400 inmates attacked staff, trashed cells and prison facilities, and set objects on fire, racking up $12 million in damages in the largest prison riot in Victoria’s history.
The spark for the conflagration? The prisoners were incensed by a statewide prison smoking ban that was due to take effect the following day.
Similar bans have now been introduced in most other states and territories, a major intervention given that almost 75% of people entering prisons are smokers — a rate six times that of the general population.
So what has been the impact of the bans? Have they actually worked?
It will come as no surprise that, when forced to quit tobacco cold turkey upon entering correctional centres, some prisoners seek alternatives.
According to one Australian study