26/02/2020 | Corey Wingard MP | Better Services

All prisons across South Australia have now fully transitioned to smoke free following a gradual roll-out throughout last year.

The Smokefree Prisons Strategy was a major government initiative aimed at improving safety and health outcomes for staff, prisoners and visitors.

Each prison across the State had a tobacco phase-out period prior to the ban meaning both the range and volume of tobacco products available for purchase from prison canteens was reduced.

To encourage and support prisoners, a range of healthy options were added to prison canteens including fish, almonds and milk alternatives and additional recreational activities and fitness-related competitions were also implemented as an added incentive.

Prisoners were also required to contribute to the cost of Nicotine Replacement Therapy.

Minister for Correctional Services Corey Wingard said not only does the change benefit prisoners but also staff working within the prisons who were forced to breathe in the second-hand smoke.

“Forcing prisoners to kick their nicotine habit will have major benefits to their health and subsequently on the wider health system,” the Minister said.

“We made a commitment to implement this change for the health of staff who work in our prison system as well as the prisoners themselves.

“Nearly 80% of prisoners identify as smokers when they enter the system so to have successfully implemented our Smokefree Prisons Strategy without any major incidents is a major accomplishment.

“We learned key lessons from prisons in other jurisdictions who experienced unrest and riots during their implementation of smoking bans and as a result have had a smooth transition with no major incidents.

“This change was inevitable. In the wider community smoking bans are prevalent, why should prisons be any different. 

“Tobacco is now considered contraband within our prisons and any prisoner caught with tobacco or smoking related items could find themselves in front of the visiting tribunal for punishment.”