Finally, the MSM are waking up to the powerful disincentive of smoking bans on visiting your local, err, prison?
No smoking prison sparks drop in crime
A noticeable drop in recorded crimes on the Isle of Man is being attributed to the opening of Europe's only completely no smoking prison.
The number of burglaries has plunged by more than 35 per cent, there has been a 25 per cent drop in the number of assaults and the number of people caught stealing cars has fallen by seven per cent in the past year.
Domestic assaults fell 11 per cent and criminal damage offences dropped eight per cent.
Correlation? Causation? Who knows? However, let's take the assertion at face value for now, seeing as a mirror article in the Mail even quotes a former prisoner who spent six months there.
"As soon as word got round that it wasn't a joke and that all smoking was banned, even in the exercise yard, a lot of people I know started having second thoughts about committing crimes.
It was something they genuinely feared. Not prison itself, but the idea of being forced to give up smoking.
Some of my mates have simply given up crime, whether it be stealing cars, shoplifting to order or burglary, as a direct result of the smoking ban."
Yep, in both reports, it's definitely the smoking ban wot done it, trumpets the obedient MSM.
Yet strangely, whenever the carnage of pub closures is mentioned (52 per week at last count), the press tend to attribute it to just about everything but the smoking ban. It's normally either the recession (of which we have suffered many with no pubs closing), cheap supermarket booze (always been so), or high pub prices (when were they ever cheap?). The smoking ban is sometimes tacked on as an afterthought, but never with any conviction despite the fact that said wholesale closures, both north and south of the border, began in earnest the moment the respective bans were implemented.
The ban's disastrous effect on the hospitality industry is stunningly obvious, with plenty of unequivocal evidence to back it up, but the MSM (and the government) are incapable, or unwilling, to categorically link the two. The reduction in Manx crime is less easily attributable to the ban, but instantly touted in these reports as the only cause.
It's perfectly believable that a non smoking prison on the Isle of Man could be having a noticeable effect. After all, if comfort in incarceration is lessened for smoking ne'er-do-wells, the deterrent is obviously going to be more potent.
But by the same token, isn't it about time the press, the government, and pub fans in denial (you know who you are) admitted that pubs and clubs are also deeply affected by smoking bans, and stopped trotting out the usual refrain that they have 'little or no effect'.
The hospitality industry is in the comfort business, after all, it's what they do. If potential criminals are making life changing decisions to avoid being forced somewhere in which they can't smoke, is it so very difficult to accept that pubgoers can be easily discouraged from voluntarily entering premises, for the same reason?