Quebec Prisoners Exercising Their Rights Towards Smoking Ban

by - October 15, 2009

Has anyone else read or heard that prison inmates' human rights are being taken away along with their right to smoke?

Nineteen Quebec inmates feel that this is the case, and have launched a lawsuit against the Federal government to lift the smoking ban that was put in to place at the start of 2008.  They believe that their charter rights have been violated and are exercising that right to do one of the only things that makes them happy while they serve their time in prison.

Call me one-sided here, but does anyone else see what is WRONG with that scenario?  Man kills someone, man goes to prison, man is mad that he cannot do what he wishes?  I am sorry, but I believe that you gave up that right, inmate number 12, when you stabbed beloved TV puppeteer Pierre Regimbald.  And what about you inmate number 9, I bet it just totally blew when you got arrested for selling all that dope to a bunch of kids huh?  I mean you knew that you were going to have to serve hard time, but to ban cigarettes, and to take away your favorite pastime, now our government is just sick.  Cruel and unusual punishment indeed.

Now don't get me wrong here, I am not so much an advocate of our justice system as I do not believe that it is a system that works.  I am not sure that taking a bunch of angry men (and women) and throwing them into a place to work even harder on a daily basis to fine-tune that anger is such a good idea.  They have all the time in the world to think about how they are locked up in a little cell, day in and day out.  That might make me a little stir crazy and angry myself.

In order to feel better, one might want to have a cigarette.  And then get angry because they can't.  So in that sense, I can see how taking away one's luxury necessity might make a person mad.  I remember when I used to smoke many moons ago, if I didn't get to smoke every 45 minutes or so, I would become irritated, bothered, and sometimes even a little sweaty.  What a gorgeous way to be.  And then when I quit (three times until I finally got it right), all those feelings went away along with the nicotine in my system.  Because, like magic, when you stop smoking, all those feelings of aggressiveness just disappear.  It suddenly all becomes birds singing and rainbows leading you to pots of gold.  So you can imagine my surprise when I read this quote regarding the Quebec inmates,
"They say the smoking ban makes them stressed, angry and aggressive, and that if all prisoners are not allowed to smoke, it could make life dangerous for everyone inside" (CTV News)
My surprise stems from the fact that the ban has been in effect for A YEAR AND A HALF.  I could maybe agree with that statement if it was put into place yesterday, but they have all been virtually smoke free for a year and a half.  Except for all the black market cigarettes that they have to pay hundreds of dollars for.  Hundreds of dollars? I don't even have hundreds of dollars.  My point is that, after year and half, it just sounds like whinging to me.  Kind of like a if-you-don't-give-me-what-I-want-I-will-scream type of thing.

Two things to end this article:  first, like I said above, you gave away any rights you may have had on the outside world when you put yourself in there.  You have the right to be safe, fed, and not treated any worse than your situation calls for.  But you do not have the right to complain about your wants. 

And secondly, why don't you read your books, attend your university classes, and work at your paid job, and then you might not have time to sit around all day feeling sorry for yourself and wanting a cigarette.

Poor, poor prison inmates.  I shake my fist at you Federal government!

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