In New Zealand, prisons were made smoke-free in 2011, and nicotine-replacement-therapy lozenges are now offered to inmates with nicotine addictions. But these nicotine-replacement-therapy lozenges had become a type of currency, or bartering tool, in the highly controlled women's prison environment.

The female prisoners who were non-smokers were being issued the lozenges, which were creating health and addiction, as well as dental issues. A recent report indicated that most of these women prisoners continued to use the lozenges even after their release from prison, which created ongoing dependency. The lozenges have become a huge bartering tool with new entrants to the prison being bullied by other women to feed their lozenge habit, or as a source of currency to gain other supplies.

The prison officials are aware of this problem and have implanted sanctions through the internal misconduct system for prisoners who intentionally misuse or attempt to trade, sell or give away their lozenges for any reason. If found guilty, the offenders could be sanctioned with loss of privileges, such as access to hobbies or telephone calls, or visits in excess of minimum entitlement, forfeiture of earnings, or cell confinement. The prison officials will ensure that the right people are getting the lozenges and to manage any abuse of lozenges within the female prisons.

Source: Stuff New Zealand

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