The Virginia Department of Corrections plans to go smoke-free by February 2010, with smoking by inmates and others prohibited in prisons and other correctional facilities, the Martinsville Bulletin reported June 23.
The ban will affect “everyone, with no exceptions,” said corrections spokesperson Larry Traylor. Currently, eight state prisons either ban smoking or have designated smoking areas for staff.
Officials said that significant numbers of inmates smoke, but that other states have successfully banned smoking in prisons.
Virginia lawmakers recently voted to prohibit smoking in most indoor public places, and some officials expressed surprise that smoking was still permitted in prisons, since most public buildings have been off-limits to smokers for years.