Sunday, 11 September 2011

No smoking at Carstairs

A smoking ban at The State Hospital, Carstairs, Scotland's unit for treating violent offenders, will be implemented from 1 December this year.

The issue was covered last year in the Daily Record. The two accounts present different estimates of the numbers currently smoking at Carstairs. Marcello Mega in the Record refers to the ruling in favour of the smoking ban by a two to one majority, against two prisoners who had challenged it on human rights grounds. The judge who dissented, Justice Keane, felt that Parliament had not agreed in principle that certain categories of people should be prevented from smoking entirely as a consequence of smoking bans, and that this was not an outcome intended by the legislation (quoted here).

The Record records concern about a violent reaction from prisoners. The Scotsman's treatment is much lower profile, no staff byline, and does not appear to have interviewed anyone in connection with the story. It states that the ban was imposed following a consultation (not even a wide consultation). This is not reassuring.

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