Montreal

Quebec prison inmates step outdoors for a smoke

The Quebec government is backtracking on a smoking ban in prisons and will allow detainees to light up in the yard.

The Quebec government is backtracking on a smoking ban in prisons and will allow detainees to light up in the yard.

Public Security Minister Jacques Dupuis announced the rule relaxation in a brief statement issued Friday morning.

Dupuis said the decision to allow smoking outside was made to ease prisoners into the ban.

Smoking has been prohibited inside and outside detention facilities since Tuesday, prompting warnings from prisoner advocates and guards who predicted it would fuel tension and lead to unrest.

Some prisoners at the Orsainville prison rioted late Thursday night, setting fires in their cells, presumably because of the ban.

Firefighters were called in and municipal police surrounded the detention centre outside Quebec City.

Quebec banned smoking from restaurants and bars in May 2006.

With files from the Canadian Press

now