Jeff Gill, a longtime prison guard in Illinois, has launched a campaign to ban smoking in the state prison system. “I feel like prison has become too comfortable for the inmates,” he told the Quad City Times. “This is not their house. It's prison. Let's start treating them like they are in prison.” Gill, a guard at the Big Muddy Correctional Center near Ina, Ill, has launched a Web site – smokefreeillinoisprisons.org – and is trying to get the word out about his fight to ban smoking behind prison walls.
He says it's uncomfortable for him to work in a smoke-filled environment. And, the 17-year veteran of the Illinois Department of Corrections says the state is wasting money on increased health care costs for inmates and guards who smoke. It may be an uphill battle. Previous efforts to ban smoking in prisons have failed, and the idea is opposed by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union, which represents state prison workers.