Image of two hands through prison bars, one hand holding a lit cigarette


Smoking remains one of the leading causes of preventable death and disease in Australia. In 2015, tobacco smoking was responsible for one in 10 deaths and estimated to cost the Australian economy $137 billion in healthcare, lost workplace productivity, and in pain and suffering (AIHW, 2020). Smoking tobacco has been banned in all Australian prisons, …

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Image of a closed fist hitting a pile of cigarettes

Key findings

The Department needs to lead and not be led The Department of Justice has not been proactive in leading smoking policy reforms. Key reforms were triggered by staff making formal complaints about the extent of second-hand smoke they were exposed to. Since 2015, there have been no further reforms and the Department has not undertaken …

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Image of a puff of smoke


Smoking continues to present a range of health and custodial challenges within Western Australian prisons. Despite restricting smoking to designated outdoor areas, prisoners continue to smoke inside their cells and throughout wings, exposing staff to second hand smoke daily. Tobacco increases instances of harassment, humbugging, and trading related debts amongst prisoners. This is likely to …

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Image of two hands snapping a cigarette in half


Recommendation 1 – The Government and Department should commit to a timeline to implement a smoke-free prisons policy within Western Australia’s prisons. Recommendation 2 – Review the effectiveness of smoking-related policies and strategies to inform immediate actions that can better protect staff from exposure to second-hand smoke. Recommendation 3 – Develop and implement a monitoring …

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