When the Texas Board of Criminal Justice voted unanimously Nov. 18 to ban tobacco from all prisons and parole facilities beginning March 1, some civil liberties groups warned of a potential backlash by angry inmates. But at the [Holliday Warden Mickey Liles] Unit, a transfer facility where the ban has been in effect for 11 months, prison officials and even some inmates play down those fears.
Hallways and cells reek of cigarette smoke. Some inmates look pale. Their teeth are crooked and dark. Even their uniforms look scruffy and drab compared with the snow-white outfits worn by inmates at Holliday.
Warden Liles hopes that attitude will rub off on inmates, who make do at Holliday without a formal smoking-cessation program. He said a survey of 172 employees showed that 125 favored the tobacco ban, 32 opposed it and 15 had no preference.