Smoking Near the Boys’ Room
This is the Criminal Justice Center – the ultimate bastion of criminal justice in Philadelphia. Chances are if you commit a crime or are accused of a crime in this city, you will go through these doors and into one of its 63 courtooms at some point. Additionally, the CJC is where Philadelphia residents go to be appropriately assigned if they are summoned to jury duty.
This is a sign in the stairwell. With the hundreds of court employees, attorneys, police officers, defendants, witnesses and jurors in the building every day, and with only 5 SLOW elevators open to be used (1 is solely dedicated for jurors), the stairwell, which has an entrance located by the men’s room on each floor, is the standard mode for people to go from floor to floor. And, as a city building, of course, the CJC is subject to the citywide smoking ban (formally known as The Clean Indoor Air Worker Protection Law), in which smoking is prohibited in “[a]ny City-owned or leased building or facility.” Plus, it just seems like common sense not to smoke indoors in a building.
This is a picture of one of MANY cigarettes found in the stairway on floor 7.
Here is a picture of more cigarette butts on floor 6.
On my most recent trip to the CJC, I was dismayed to find not just remnants of people smoking in the stairwell but to also actually see building employees and visitors blatantly violating the law and lighting up in plain view of everyone using the stairwell, be it prosecutors, criminal defense attorneys and even police officers. (Unfortunately, I could not get anyone to voluntarily pose for a photograph while puffing away).
Still, it happens, and everyone who frequents the place enough knows it, but it does not appear that anyone seems too concerned to do anything about it. Under the Act, smoking violators (both the smokers and the establishment) are subject to fines if they are reported. Yet, there’s almost an insinuation that the police officers and other security personnel aren’t too keen on enforcing the law in their “building” (although, they make potential jurors and visitors jump through hoops by checking in their cell phones to enter). It’s kind of ironic that in the city’s center of criminal justice, crimes are routinely committed in public without fear of prosecution.
Like it or not, the smoking ban is the law in Philadelphia. The next time someone sees the ban being violated, perhaps you can call the hotline (215-685-7495) or report it online.