Pubdate: Fri, 25 Aug 2000
Source: Denver Post (CO)
Copyright: 2000 The Denver Post
Contact:  1560 Broadway, Denver, CO 80202
Fax: (303) 820.1502
Author: Scott Johnson


I find the issue of the ban on tobacco in Colorado's prisons somewhat
comical but appalling as well.

It's comical that correctional officers who smoke are whining that they can
no longer do so on the job, without themselves becoming convicted felons. I
am appalled at the hypocrisy of our lawmakers to ban tobacco use in all
government buildings - except for the state capitol.

This entire debate is extremely ludicrous! The ban on tobacco within
Colorado's jails, "to reduce health care costs," has resulted in a black
market of a "still legal" product. The temptation for prison staff to
smuggle cigarettes into the jails and sell them for distribution among
inmates, would be overwhelming. If inmates are willing to pay $100 for a
pack of cigarettes ($1,000 a carton), someone will risk his job and freedom
to supply them.

Prohibition only breeds corruption. Prohibition on alcohol was a failure.
The "so-called" War on Drugs is a failure, and now there's a war on tobacco
that will surely fail as well.

I find it ironic that the issue of legalizing marijuana (for medicinal
purposes) will be on the November ballot while, at the same time, the witch
hunt against cigarette smokers strengthens. It's an imperfect world we live
in and tolerance of others' bad habits is needed badly! Individual choice
and free will are what America was founded on and more laws that dictate
personal freedom of choice will only fuel disillusionment, corruption and
eventual revolt.

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