By Ethan Colbert
The days of inmates smoking in-and-around Missouri’s 21 adult correctional centers are numbered.
According to a report from a statewide press service, U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey ordered the state in September to ban tobacco products after Ecclesiastical Denzel Washington, an inmate serving a life sentence for strangling and suffocating two women in the 1980s, complained about being habitually exposed to secondhand smoke.
According to Washington’s legal counsel, Michael Foster, his client suffers from asthma and was housed for years with heavy smokers in the Crossroads Correctional Center in Cameron.
“He was sentenced to life in jail, he wasn’t sentenced to life in jail with constant exposure to secondhand smoke,” Foster said in the statewide news report.
Smoking within the walls of a state prison were already banned, but inmates were able to smoke in outdoor smoking areas. Cigarettes were available for purchase from the prison commissary.
In the district court, Foster argued that inmates were often found to be smoking within the prison’s walls due to lax enforcement from prison employees.
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