Why ban smoking in prisons? Recidivism could be reduced by reducing the life spans of jailbirds

And thanks to the carrot sticks, I don't really need the flashlight.

Alf sounds a serious caution about plans to feed more carrots to jailbirds to help wean them off the smoking habit.

His mum always told him that eating carrots would help him to see better in the dark.

Improving the night-time vision of criminals with an inclination to burglary and other nocturnal crimes does not seem to be conducive to crime reduction.

Your hard-working MP accordingly will be taking up the matter with Crusher Collins, our Minister of Corrections.

The news that prisoners are to be given more carrots comes from Stuff.

A report from the deep south tells us some units are trialling a new initiative to help prisoners kick the smoking habit as prisons prepare to become smoke free from July 1.

In an Invercargill Prison internal communication supplied to The Southland Times, Corrections Inmate Employment is said to be supporting a national directive to supply two carrot sticks a day to each prisoner as part of the smoking cessation policy.

The costings and size had been trialed, the memo said, with one jumbo carrot providing 16 carrot sticks, which would be cut into uniform sizes “to the best of our ability”.

A Department of Corrections spokeswoman confirmed Invercargill Prison and the Otago Corrections Facility were among prisons that had already started giving out the healthy snack to help with smoking withdrawal.

The Stuff reporter went to Beven Hanlon, president of the Corrections Association of New Zealand.

When he first heard about giving prisoners carrot sticks as a replacement for cigarettes, he said, he thought it was a joke.

While the prison memo says the carrots are to be trialed for about a month, Mr Hanlon said he would be surprised if it was still going in a couple of weeks. “I don’t think it is one of [the Department of Corrections’] best ideas but it is worth a try,” he said.

We learn from Hanlon that last week was the final week tobacco and tobacco-related products could be bought by prisoners.

From July 1 cigarettes will become nationally prohibited items, or contraband.

Prisoners who usually would buy cigarettes with their weekly allowance will have spare cash.

Most of the items available to inmates are sugary or foods such as two-minute noodles.

Carrot sticks – this Hanlon feller says – are healthier than other options, which include hard lollies. Moreover, they should take the prisoners’ minds off smoking (although this is a proposition that Alf seriously questions).

“It’s the whole oral thing … if they have got something in their mouth, they won’t be looking for a cigarette to put in it.”

The reasoning here is deeply troubling.

It means the smoking habit could be discouraged – dare Alf mention it – by encouraging the practice of fallatio among jailbirds and jailblokes.

Another critical question is why our prison authorities should be doing something that will improve the night vision of criminals.

Alf has it on good authority – which fortifies the advice from his mother – that carrots really do help you see in the dark; beta-carotene-rich foods help prevent a variety of eye ailments

At naturalnews.com he learned that –

Your mother always told you eating carrots would help you see better, but did she ever tell you why? No, this wasn’t just a trick to get you to eat your vegetables. It turns out carrots really do give your eyes a boost because they contain beta-carotene, which the body is able to convert into vitamin A, an essential vitamin for healthy vision.

Vitamin A, also called retinol, is key in fighting vision problems like cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and night blindness. It is found primarily in fish oils, liver, eggs and fortified dairy products. However, if you don’t eat animal products, you can make sure you are getting plenty of vitamin A by eating fruits and vegetables that contain carotenoids like beta-carotene, which the body then converts to useful vitamin A, called “provitamin A.”

Vision loss is one of the most feared health conditions, the article says, but sufficient vitamin A intake may help ease those fears.

Alf does not much see the point of dealing with concerns of visions loss among prisoners.

To the contrary, he recognises that smoking reduces a smoker’s lifespan. Smoking accordingly should be made compulsory for all inmates.

Let’s see what that does for the crime rate.

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