OTTAWA -- A total smoking ban is being implemented at Canadian prisons, starting immediately at federal maximum-security institutions and some regional treatment centres.
The Correctional Service of Canada, in a statement issued late Monday, says once fully implemented, smoking will not be permitted "inside federal correctional facilities, including private family visiting units or outdoors, within the perimeter of correctional facilities."
Commissioner Keith Coulter says the decision to impose the total ban came "after thorough consultation and consideration of every aspect." An indoor ban was first put in place Jan. 31, 2006.
The Correctional Service has provided staff and offenders with access to educational and awareness material, and given inmates who wish to quit smoking access to cessation aids, the release said.
The department also says it has emergency plans at the ready to address any disruption that may arise, such as having institutional emergency response teams in place.
The ban in medium-security institutions and treatment centres in Quebec and Atlantic Canada kicks in May 20, and on June 2 in all minimum-security facilities, community correctional centres and women's institutions.
For now, the ban affects all maximum-security institutions, a special handling unit and multi-level institutions for men, including regional treatment centres in Ontario, B-C and on the Prairies.
"CSC is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for staff and inmates. Eliminating exposure to second-hand smoke in our institutions is an important step forward to achieve this objective," Coulter said.