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Smokefree Prisons a Winner

28 June 2012

Smokefree Prisons a Winner

The Department of Corrections has scooped a national award for its communication campaign to make prisons smokefree environments.

The Department won the Talent2 Award for Excellence in Public Sector Communications category at the 2012 IPANZ Gen-i Public Sector Excellence Awards in Wellington last night.

Corrections’ Chief Executive Ray Smith said the award recognised the efforts of everyone involved in making New Zealand prisons smokefree.

“The award is a fantastic result and tops off the successful implementation of the single most important health initiative in New Zealand prisons.

“Full credit should go to Corrections officers and Prison Health Services nurses who worked together in implementing this project. While officers and Corrections Inmate Employment Instructors acted as educators and communicators, nurses assessed prisoners and distributed patches and lozenges. In addition, staff who were smokers embraced the project and also gave up smoking.

"The decision to make prisons smokefree was made for both health and safety reasons. Given the serious health consequences of smoking and second hand smoke, it was considered the right thing to do for our prisoners and staff.

"This award is timely, as we approach the first anniversary of smokefree prisons,” Mr Smith said.

“Prisoners also deserve recognition for their part in the success of this program. They’re now in a healthier environment and have the confidence to make life-changing decisions.”

Smoking in all New Zealand prisons and grounds has been banned since 1 July 2011. It was the first time in the world that smoking was banned in a national corrections jurisdiction on one day.

There was a 12-month lead in period to prepare prisoners and staff for the implementation of smokefree prisons, and during this time a number of positive initiatives were introduced to help ensure a smooth transition to the changed.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) is offered to all prison staff and prisoners free of charge. Prisoners also have access to the 0800 Quitline for further support.

The IPANZ (Institute of Public Administration New Zealand) Gen-i Public Sector Excellence Awards recognise and reward outstanding performances and work achievements of organisations and project teams in the New Zealand public sector.

The Department was one of 27 finalists across eight categories chosen from more than 70 nominations.

ENDS

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