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 worsen as the price of tobacco continues to rise.
Since an initial attempt to trial a smoke-free prison at Eastern Goldfields Regional Prison in 2014, the Department has not been proactive in initiating internal smoking policy reforms. The Department has not undertaken any policy evaluations, monitored its own key smoking indicators, or developed a plan to better understand the risks associated with the continuation of smoking within custodial facilities.
Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory are the two remaining jurisdictions yet to have introduced a smoke-free prisons policy. There is ample domestic and international evidence demonstrating that smoke-free prisons can be introduced without significant disruption. It is recommended the Western Australian Government and the Department of Justice commit to developing a timeline for the introduction of a smoke-free prisons policy in Western Australia.