Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Incentives matter: smoking ban file

From the New Zealand Herald:
A squeeze on cigarettes is already causing fights in prison, says an ex-inmate just released from Waikato's Rangipo Prison.
Overseas, smoking bans in prisons have produced a few riots, black market smuggling, and some bizarre alternatives to tobacco by addicted inmates.

In Quebec, up to 70 inmates rioted and lit fires two days after a smoking ban came into force at the Orsainville detention centre near Quebec City in 2008. A total ban was rescinded the next day to allow smoking outside.

In Vermont, a thriving black market and prisoners smoking powdered juice led to an easing of its bans in 1992 to allow smoking outdoors.

The Edmonton Sun, meanwhile, reported that grass, leaves, tree bark, toast crumbs, pepper and nicotine patches had been smoked at a local prison, rolled in pages from the Bible and lit by sticking staples into electrical outlets.
Does this behaviour come as a surprise to anyone? Ban something and you give people the incentive to form black markets and to look for substitutes. And to use violence to obtain and control whatever supply there is available.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Man, I'm a smoker and I periodically attempt to stop.
The effects on me are.
1. My energy levels increase.
2. I become intolerant of "shit"
3. I don't procrastinate as much.

Smokes are a great pacifier for me
and though they are unhealthy and procrastinations "little helpers" I
find I am more agreeable with than without them.
I cannot see how anyone thinks banning them in jail is going to improve anything there.