Jarrett et al. v. Westchester County Department of Health, et al.

Several inmates brought a challenge to the Department of Corrections implementation of a directive prohibiting smoking by anyone in the facility, relegating Department employees to smoking only on their scheduled lunch break and only outside, and prohibiting prisoners from possessing smoking materials.  The petitioners allege that the no-smoking policy is arbitrary and capricious, exceeds State and County Law by prohibiting smoking outdoors as well as indoors, and denies them the equal protection of the law.  Citing the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Helling v. McKinney, the Supreme Court for Westchester County dismissed the petition.  The court ruled that “the manner of the implementation of the mandated ban within the jail setting clearly falls within the discretionary authority of the jail administrators” and that the “existence of different approaches to similar problems does not make respondent’s determination in this case arbitrary or capricious.”  Finally, the court concluded that “[t]here is absolutely no merit to any equal protection argument in this case.”  See Anderson, C., “Judge Refuses to Stay Jail’s Ban on Smoking,” New York Law Journal, March 6, 1995, 1, 7.

646 N.Y.S. 2d 223, N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 250 (1996).