Prisoner Strike


"Prisoners of NSW have asked Justice Action to coordinate a statewide strike in response to a series of attacks. Rights to privacy, clean air, procedural fairness before punishment, education, judicial certainty, health, hope and recovery are being trampled without resistance. We have continually put these issues to government but have been treated with contempt. The documents are on our website. Prisoners say: 'We are citizens not slaves. We say No!’ The strike was launched at a news conference in Trades Hall at 12 noon, Thursday August 6 (2015)”.


Latest News:

[Gatton Star] Big tobacco money linked to NSW prison smoking ban 13 Aug 2015 
[Herald Sun] NSW inmates to swap ciggies for patches Aug 10 2015 
[Southern Cross] Cigarette ban will only lead to tension Aug 10 2015 
[Daily Telegraph] Riot staff prepared as smoke ban hits Aug 10 2015 
[The Age] NSW prison officers exempt from prison smoking ban as inmates forced to quit Aug 9 2015 
[Echo News] Prisoners urged to strike over smoking ban and overcrowding Aug 9 2015 
[Sunday Telegraph]Rolling in tobacco as jail smoke ban looms Aug 9 2015 
[Sunday Telegraph]Butt Out of Prison Rules by Miranda Devine Aug 9 2015


Launch Event Video
Launch Event Photos

"The Inspector of Custodial Services John Paget warned Minister for Corrections David Elliott that breaches of health regulations and overcrowding in cells for the longest period in Australia could lead to riots.  He said that conditions 'denied them a modicum of dignity and humanity’. With the smoking ban he said tensions could become ‘intolerable’. His role to inspect the secret places of punishment is enshrined in the UN Convention Against Torture”. 

"The Government has refused to acknowledge its failings, blamed staff, and has brought out the Immediate Action Teams. It has ignored its obligations under OPCAT and the Inspector is being replaced. The E-cigs used in UK prisons to respect nicotine dependency have been ignored.”.  

"Justice Action accepts responsibility to help coordinate prisoners’ responses. We know from experience that riots don’t bring long term changes but allow armed bullies to vilify and brutally degrade defenceless, desperate people. After considerable consultation, without any external assistance being offered, we declare the beginning of the Prisoners Strike”.  

"It will be a 'Smart Strike', disciplined, building solidarity and committed to run over a substantial period. The rules are that there will be no violence, no riots, no martyrs, no hunger strikes, no charges and no services. There will be a gradual shutdown of all prison industries including food services. Prison property will not be protected. Prisoners will become sick with nicotine withdrawal and other ailments. Breaches of the rules will be registered and dealt with after the strike has ended”. 

Sickness Effects of Tobacco Ban Document Page

"Strike progress reports, successes and statements from prisons will be collated from the iExpress website and published.  This will only end with respectful guidelines for mutual obligations where our citizens get support to improve rather than be crushed in destructive isolation”. Please send reports to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Inspector's Report

Smoking Ban - ignoring UK e-cig solution

Letter to Minister April 28 2015

2 Responses from Minister  May 21 2015

                                              May 19 2015

Strategy Paper August 11 2011

Media Release August 10 2011

Related News
[ABC News] 1200 ABC New by Melinda Hayter Aug 6 2015
[AM] Prisoners to go on strike in NSW, advocacy group claims   (Audio Recording)
[ABC Report] NSW inmmates urged to strike to protest overcrowding; Prison officials say call for action 'reprehensible' Aug 6 2015 
[ABC Report]NSW jails prepare for riots ahead of smoking ban next week Aug 6 2015 
[ABC Report] Prisoners to go on strike in NSW, advocacy group claims Aug 6 2015 
[Letter to the Member of Parliament] Prisoners Strike Announcement  August 5 2015


  • get involved2
  • donate
  • breakout-logo2



Justice Action
Trades Hall, Level 2, Suite 204
4 Goulburn Street
Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

T 02 9283 0123
F 02 9283 0112
E ja@justiceaction.org.au
© 2020 Breakout Media Communications
breakout-logo  womens justice network icon logo-community