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Chokers in chokey: prisoners get right to smoke inside (comment added)

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Her Majesty’s Prison, Jamestown. Picture: John Grimshaw

Inmates of Jamestown prison have been exempted from St Helena’s new ban on smoking in public buildings, which came into force on 1 September 2012.

Under the law, anyone caught smoking in a public building is liable to a fine of £300 – which prisoners would struggle to pay.

The prison service would also have been liable to a fine of £500 for allowing inmates to smoke.

But executive councillors were told on Tuesday 4 September 2012 that special circumstances applied to the prison, and that jails in the UK are also exempt from similar legislation.

‘Allowing them to smoke is going backward’ – see comment, below

Governor Mark Capes said: “It had become apparent that the special circumstances of HM prison, the physical structure of the building and the essential safety and security measures, make it impossible to apply the conditions required by the Tobacco Control Ordinance.

“After some interesting discussion of the special factors prevailing at HM prison, councillors agreed to grant the exemption.”

The island’s new Natural Resources Management Plan was also approved by councillors, after they were assured it would not cut across investment policy or cause extra expenditure.

Reduced petrol and diesel prices, resulting from changes in the value of the US dollar, were reported to the meeting. The cost of diesel had dropped by six pence per litre, and petrol by four pence.

  • Chokey: British slang for a prison, from Hindi caukī – a shed or lock-up

How ridiculous! Allowing them to smoke is going backward and not forward! Let’s look at the big picture for them. How about a “How To Stop Smoking ” class. And what better place to educate them on the benefits of cessation than while in prison. What happened to “how can we help them, how can we educate them?” They are people who have made mistakes, like we all do.
– Doreen Gatien, California

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