DOJ Banning Smoking in Federal Prisons

The Justice Department (DOJ) is banning smoking and all tobacco products in federal prisons, according to a final regulation to be published Monday.

All federal prison inmates will be prohibited from smoking, unless they receive a religious exemption. Staff will also still be able to smoke in designated areas. The government said they are moving forward with the regulation, which goes into effect in 30 days, out of concerns of the health of their inmates.

The rule will affect the estimated 80 percent of prison inmates that smoke.

“The revised regulations generally prohibit smoking in and on the grounds of Bureau institutions and offices, except as part of an authorized inmate religious activity; and, for Bureau staff and official visitors, only in smoking areas designated by the Warden,” the final rule said. “Possession of smoking apparatus and tobacco in any form is prohibited for inmates under this rule, unless as part of an authorized inmate religious activity.”

“We intend this amendment to promote a clean air environment and to protect the health and safety of staff and inmates,” the DOJ’s Bureau of Prisons (BOP) said.