Restrictions on smoking are intended to promote the health of prisoners who smoke. Prisoners are offered support to quit smoking.
Government has submitted a motion to parliament on Thursday calling for a ban on smoking in closed prisons. In open prisons, smoking would be allowed in designated outdoor areas. The Ministry of Justice reports in its bulletin.
According to the Ministry of Justice, the purpose of the restriction is to prevent harm to the health of non-smoking prisoners and staff in prisons and to promote the health of smoking prisoners.
“Smoking in cells causes significant harm to non-smokers and staff. Prisoners would also be banned from possessing tobacco products and equipment, ”the ministry said in a statement.
The exact date of the ban will be decided when the law has been approved by Parliament, says the Legislative Counselor of the Ministry of Justice Juho Martikainen To HS.
“Prisons must first prepare for smoking cessation support measures, and the ban cannot take effect immediately at the turn of the year,” says Martikainen.
Ministry says the Prison Health Unit and the Penitentiary will provide support to inmates to quit smoking. According to the presentation, prisoners will receive the treatment they need for the withdrawal symptoms caused by nicotine addiction. An additional funding of EUR 250 000 is proposed for this purpose in the Preliminary Draft Budget for 2021 for the Prison Health Service.
According to Martikainen, the Finnish Penal Sanctions Institute offers nicotine replacement products to prisoners for withdrawal symptoms for four weeks. In addition, support groups are set up in prisons to stop smoking. The support measures have been considered on the basis of the Current Care recommendations.
“A nurse in the Prison Health Unit also has an individual discussion with inmates about quitting smoking. They are able to offer medication to those with the worst withdrawal symptoms, ”says Martikainen.
Large some inmates smoke, and Martikainen admits that the reception of the ban will certainly be variable. Completely painless, the ban will not succeed.
“What do I have visited Helsinki in prison, so there’s some detainees still does not accept the ban. Some people are neutral about it and some may think that some kind of benefit is available from the ban and that it is possible to quit smoking completely, ”says Martikainen.
“For some type of anxiety it will cause, but yes, prisons half the workers are taking this time with confidence. There is no insurmountable protest or insurrection coming. ”
Martikainen estimates that tobacco may continue to be smuggled into prisons. However, he sees that it is a little evil.
“Deputy Director of Helsinki Prison Tero Uuranmäki has said he would rather put a small amount of smuggled tobacco in jail than drugs. If someone gets a pack of tobacco in jail, it’s a relatively small nuisance compared to drugs. Nobody gets confused about that. ”
Until now, smoking has been possible in closed prisons in prison cells and outdoors. In open institutions, prisoners have been allowed to smoke outdoors. Smoking has been restricted since 2018 in a few prisons.