No stripes: prisoners wear patches in smoke-free prison

TAMWORTH’S only prison became a smoke-free zone yesterday as part of a state-wide ban.

Smoking is now prohibited at the Tamworth Correctional Centre after a decision by the state government and the Department of Justice, last year.

The prison, which was at full capacity last week, implemented the ban yesterday morning, along with the minimum-security Glen Innes Correctional Centre.

The Leader understands riot squads are in place in all prisons across NSW should any adverse behaviour break out.

All cigarettes, tobacco and smoking related items, such as matches, lighters and e-cigarettes, are also banned.

It is estimated about three quarters of the more than 11,800 inmates in NSW prisons smoke and it’s been commonly referred to as a currency in jail.

Now, inmates will receive eight weeks supply of nicotine patches, and nicotine lozenges will be available at all NSW prison stores.

It is understood inmates have been told to distract themselves by doing crosswords, exercise and meditation and writing.

The smoking ban was announced after a trial of smoke-free buildings in Lithgow Correctional Centre in 2013 and follows similar moves in Queensland, Northern Territory and New Zealand.

In Victoria, hundreds of inmates rioted in a Melbourne prison for 15 hours in June in protest of a smoking ban introduced across the state.

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