Prison smoking ban may make officers vulnerable

THE plan to ban smoking in all Queensland prisons from May will make prisoners target weaker officers to get around the ban, a corrective services insider says.

The officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told the Chronicle tobacco would create an illegal trade.

"Some prisoners are addicted," they said.

"It will just become contraband."

Queensland Attorney-General and Justice Minister Jarrod Bleijie said the policy change was health-related.

"The harmful effects of smoking have been known for a long-time and our hard-working corrections staff deserves to be able to work in a completely smoke-free environment," he said.

"This decision follows other jurisdictions including the Northern Territory, New South Wales and New Zealand who have also implemented a smoke-free zone policy in their correctional facilities."

The insider said that although smoke wasn't healthy; it often made a difficult situation with a prisoner a little easier.

"Giving someone a smoke calms them down," they said.

"They'll just target the weaker officers (to smuggle it in)."

When the ban kicks in next May, correctional officers also won't be able to smoke on prison grounds.

The change will align with other government buildings where workers are not permitted to smoke on the grounds.

The correctional insider said some officers worked 12-hour shifts at the Maryborough Correctional Centre and many smoked.

"They had certain areas where they could smoke," the insider said.

Should prisoners be allowed to smoke?

This poll ended on 15 November 2013.

Yes - 55%

No - 44%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Topics:  maryborough maryborough correctional centre prison smoking

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