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Fears of more cigarette prison riots as nicotine supplies dwindle

LATEST: Victoria’s Corrections Commissioner has moved to allay fears of more prison riots with concerns nicotine patches are in short supply.

Up to 300 prisoners were involved in mass riots at the Metropolitan Remand Centre in June when the smoking bans were first enforced.

Sources have told the Herald Sun many inmates are getting angry and restless, and prison officers are living in constant fear of imminent violence.

But Commissioner Jan Shuard said prisoners had started the nicotine replacement therapy at varying times, some long before the ban came into effect.

She said they had also introduced nicotine lozenges.

‘We are monitoring, we had a big event in our system,’ she said on 3AW Mornings.

‘We are on a heightened level of alertness across the prison system watching our intelligence and the mood of the prisons.

‘It was a big event, it did catch us.’

Since the ban, authorities have intercepted attempts to smuggle tobacco into jails.

‘There’s been a bit of trafficking or contraband tobacco products coming into the system and we’ve found it,’ she said.

There are reports the prison black market rate for a single cigarette packet is as much as $1000, although Ms Shuard said she couldn’t confirm the price.