Smoking bans in prisons improving inmate quality of life

SMOKING bans in prisons may have started to reduce tobacco consumption among inmates, whose mental health appears to be improving.

An Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report has found despite high rates of "risky health behaviours", many prisoners are reporting better health by the time they are released.

At prisons without a smoking ban, 74% of inmates who had been released smoked. The figure for prisons that banned smoking was only 59%.

Mental health remained a major issue among prisoners with 49% reporting they had been diagnosed with a disorder.

More than a quarter of all inmates also reported being on medication for a mental health disorder.

But about 41% of those leaving prison said their mental health had improved since being locked up, and 51% thought their physical health had also improved in that time.

Topics:  mental health prisons smoking smoking ban

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