"1993 Supreme Court decision: Exposure to secondhand smoke constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the 8th Amendment."


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Elderly Woman Retaliated Against for Second-hand Smoke

Elderly Woman Retaliated Against for Second-hand Smoke

A woman about 70-years old wrote to this website to describe her struggle against second-hand smoke at Perryville. “In 2017 I submitted a grievance against staff smoking out-of-area and in the non-smoking sections of Santa Maria. I had a list of 15 names of officers who completely disregard the policy on smoking, where they were, the time of day, and the camera angles. Within 10 hours of turning in that grievance, I was on the next bus to Santa Cruz unit. The Captain saw me off, shook my hand and told me he was sorry I was retaliated against.

I was happy on Santa Cruz but encountered the same blatant disregard for non-smokers as I had endured on Maria. I compiled yet another list of staff smoking in my face and in front of sick patients at the medical unit. This time I had an audience with the two COIVs on Cruz about my asthma and why this is a serious problem. After all, if the staff can’t follow the law, how can we expect the inmates to do so. They decided I was too much trouble and put me in a van back to Santa Maria.

The message is: “Shut up about tobacco or we’ll transfer you to Lumley or a detention unit!”

I Couldn’t Breathe at Maria Detention Unit!

I Couldn’t Breathe at Maria Detention Unit!

“I was located at this facility intermittently for several months, but I want to talk about my two weeks of hell, where I literally couldn’t breathe.

The girls at MDU (Maria Detention Unit) were getting cigarettes smuggled in. As a result, the air was polluted by smoke. I pleaded to the guard to open the food trap just to get some air. I am very sensitive to tobacco, and at one point I felt like I might be having a heart attack. My heart was racing (confirmed by the nurse,) as I struggled to get a breath. I was in so much distress that an emergency medical incident was called on my behalf.”

Inmate wishes to be anonymous for her protection.

Gassed at Santa Cruz Medical – by T.M.

Gassed at Santa Cruz Medical – by T.M.

A guard stationed at complex escorted a patient to Santa Cruz Medical. He stepped one foot out of Medical and promptly lit up his cigarette in front of other patients waiting outside.

Several of us are asthmatics and told the guard to go someplace else, as this was a non-smoking area. He was rude and insulting and continued smoking in front of us. We were forced to take shelter inside to avoid suffering an asthma attack.

The other (female) guard at the medical desk refused to ask him to stop smoking. As he left Santa Cruz, he pointed his cigarette at us like a gun – his meaning was clear.

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