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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida will outlaw smoking in prison



TALLAHASSEE — Two decades after a Pinellas County legislator first proposed it, Florida is finally ready to outlaw smoking by prison inmates.

That prisoners are still casually lighting up in the rec yard, years after many other states stopped the practice, is testament to the legacy of tobacco industry influence in Tallahassee and the reluctance of a rigid prison bureaucracy to change with the times.

Gov. Rick Scott's new prison boss, Edwin Buss, arrived in Florida from Indiana a few weeks ago and was shocked to discover a smoky haze in prisons he visited. His former state banned smoking in prison in 1995, and many other states followed suit.

"We're kind of going toward a smoke-free world," Buss said.

Buss plans to offer nicotine patches and smoking cessation classes to inmates to wean them off cigarettes and chewing tobacco by September, in an effort to make prisons cleaner and reduce health care costs. (story here)

[Last modified: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 9:37pm]


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