Philip Davies – 2014 Parliamentary Question to the Ministry of Justice

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Philip Davies on 2014-03-31.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the effect of a smoking ban in prisons on the number of incidents of violence relating to cigarettes.

Jeremy Wright

The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) support the desirability of attaining a smoke free prison estate in the future and continue to work towards this objective. However, the timing of that implementation will take account of the operational realities of running safe, decent and secure prisons and in particular the impact any smoking ban may have on the general safety of staff and prisoners. Therefore the decision on timing to move to smoke free prisons will reflect an operational assessment of risk, which will include an assessment of potentially adverse impact on prisoner behaviour and how this risk can be minimised and effectively managed. This assessment is ongoing and the risks are being carefully considered to ensure effective plans and support are in place before introducing smoke free prisons.

The work by NOMS on moving to a smoke free prison estate will continue to be informed by the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies in Nottingham University; by further assessments of air quality in prisons; and by the work with Public Health England and expertise from the New Zealand prison service which has introduced smoke free prisons.