So, would Sir look like a smoking or non-smoking prison cell?

Last updated at 00:28 19 May 2007

Prisoners sharing a cell are to be invited to

choose: Smoking or non-smoking?

They are being given the hotel-style option

because of the impending ban on lighting up in

public and at work.

Prisoners will still be able to smoke in their cells when the ban is introduced in England on July 1 – because it is their "home".

A cell mate who doesn’t want to share with a

smoker will be able to move to a non-smoking

cell, leaving governors to juggle prisoners around

in already overcrowded jails.

Prison wardens reacted angrily yesterday,

saying they will be forced to leave the building to

have a cigarette while convicted criminals can

relax with a smoke in their cells.

Taxpayers’ cash will also be used to ensure that

cells are smoke-proof to protect the health of

inmates who don’t light up.

The Home Office defended the decision, but

politicians criticised the move.

Martin Callanan,

MEP for the North-East who sits on the European

parliament’s environment, public health and food

safety committee, said:

"It seems to me that if they can’t even enforce the smoking ban in a prison,

how are they going to enforce it anywhere?

"Why should the taxpayer pick up the cost of

moving prisoners and the expense of extraction

equipment. It’s just ridiculous.

"Prisoners give up certain rights when they go

to jail and smoking should be one of them. It

should be stopped, full stop."

A Home Office spokesman said: "Prisoners will be

able to smoke in their cell because it is equivalent

to their home.

"However, all the parts of the prison that are

enclosed public spaces will have the smoking ban

in force. Wardens are not going to be able to

smoke anywhere in the prison."

She added: "Measures will be put in place to

make sure there is no exposure to smoke outside

of the cells.

"It will be the responsibility of

governors at the prison to make sure smokers and

non-smokers no longer share cells."

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