Prisoners in jails in New South Wales, Australia, who currently smoke tobacco but who are facing a total smoking ban, have received support from what seems at first sight to be an unlikely source.
Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, Simon Chapman, Professor, School of Public Health, University of Sydney, said that while he believed it was incontestable that banning smoking within the enclosed spaces of prison buildings was the right thing to do, banning smoking in wide-open outdoor spaces opened up an entirely different set of ethical issues.
In a brave piece, Chapman, who admits to having had heated discussions with colleagues about this issue, said that some people thought it was OK to remove one of prisoners’ few freedoms: to smoke outdoors.
These people would be horrified if such a policy were extended to their neighbours or friends, but apparently it was OK with prisoners because they didn’t deserve to be treated like other citizens.
Chapman’s piece is at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/prisoners-should-be-free-to-smoke-outside-20130930-2uo4f.html.