Smoking Ban Applies To Prisons, Court Rules

A High Court judge has ruled the ban on smoking in public places applies to all prisons, despite fears imposing it could lead to unrest in jails in England and Wales

Paul Black, an inmate at HMP Wymott in Lancashire, brought the case against the Crown, complaining he was frequently exposed to second-hand smoke in public areas such as landings, laundries and healthcare unit waiting rooms.

He said he suffers from a range of health problems made worse by smoke.

Smoking is allowed in cells with the doors shut, but banned in communal areas. Black, however, argued not enough was being done to stop prisoners and staff lighting up in areas that were supposed to be smoke-free.

The judge rejected an argument by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling that the 2006 Health Act does not “bind the Crown” and therefore does not apply in state prisons.

Mr Justice Singh said: “In my judgment it is clear from the terms of the 2006 Act … that the intention of Parliament was indeed that it should apply to all public places and workplaces which fell within its scope, including those for which the Crown is responsible.”

The Act which makes smoking a criminal offence in enclosed public places and workplaces.

Black, a convicted sex offender, went to court to argue that inmates should be able to make anonymous calls to the NHS freephoneline set up to report infringements of the rules.

Although he did not win a ruling on access to the hotline, the judge said Mr Grayling would be expected to re-examine the issue after today’s ruling.

He acknowledged there might be good reasons “in the interests of of security and order in prisons why prisoners should not generally be allowed confidential and anonymous access to external phone numbers”.

Black is currently serving a sentence of indeterminate detention for public protection (IPP) after being convicted of sexual assault and outraging public decency.

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5 March 2015 | 12:28 pm – Source: orange.co.uk

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