Utah Prisons Now Completely Smoke-Free
DRAPER, Utah – A cigarette ban at the Lone Peak minimum-security housing unit in Draper took effect on January 1, 2014, now making Utah’s entire state prison system officially smoke free.
Indoor and outdoor smoking both have been prohibited for nearly 20 years at nearly all Utah prison facilities. Only those inmates in Lone Peak’s minimum-security housing (at the north end of the Draper prison campus) had retained the ability to smoke outdoors during approved recreation time – until this recent change.
Corrections’ new leadership team evaluated the policy and elected late last year to begin gradually weaning the Lone Peak inmate population off of cigarettes. Inmates were given advanced notice of the decision in order to prepare them for the change. The prison announced to Lone Peak inmates on November 1 that it would halt cigarette sales through the facility’s commissary, and they would need to use or dispose of their cigarettes prior to January 1. Offenders were offered smoking cessation classes, information, and other consultation with clinical services professionals to make a smoother transition.
Similar to the rest of the prison system, cigarettes in Lone Peak are now considered contraband and will be confiscated. Among the many reasons for the change in policy was a consideration for managing safety and security factors inside the prison system. Banning smoking reduces access to open flames and limits contraband moving through the rest of the prison facilities.
In addition to better managing the prison system itself, the Department of Corrections intends this policy to benefit both offenders and society at large. Minimum-security offenders housed at Lone Peak are near the end of their prison sentences and have already gone without cigarettes during their incarceration. The new policy will prevent those inmates from reverting to this old habit (or prevent others from taking up smoking as a new habit) as they approach their release date.
Since smoking is known to bring adverse health risks, the policy should prevent some of the tax-funded costs used to treat smoking related medical issues that arise while an inmate is in prison. To supplement these preventative measures and encourage an overall healthier lifestyle as inmates prepare to rejoin the community, the prison has also updated some exercise equipment at the facility.
It’s not entirely uncommon for prisons today to ban smoking indoors and out. The Federal Bureau of Prisons banned smoking at all its facilities through the United States in 2004, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Many state systems likewise have indoor/outdoor smoking bans.
The Lone Peak facility houses up to 300 of the state prison system’s 7,000-plus inmates (just more than 4 percent of the entire population). Many Lone Peak inmates leave the facility with officers during the daytime hours as parts of supervised work crews.