Prisoner Sues Over Smoking Ban

It's 'cruel and unusual' punishment, con claims
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 23, 2010 5:00 AM CDT
Foster's lawyers say he should have been given patches or another form of nicotine replacement during the punishment period.   (Shutter Stock)

(Newser) – You can take his freedom but you can't take his cigarettes, a British inmate is arguing in court. Jack Richard Foster is suing prison authorities, claiming they violated his human rights and imposed cruel and unusual punishment when they took away his tobacco for a week as punishment for swearing at a prison officer. Foster's lawyers say that as a tobacco addict, he should have been offered nicotine patches, the Telegraph reports.

Foster aims to seek damages under European Union human rights law if he wins his case in Britain's High Court. A judge adjourned the case yesterday so more information could be gathered, noting that the lawsuit raised important legal issues. "I can see that for the future, from your client's point of view, this problem could come up again—if he is still smoking, as I imagine he is," the judge said.

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