Since they got rid of smokes in prison, life behind bars hadn't been the same for Johnny Rowbotham.
Being able to roll a fag and hang with the other men in the yard helped pass the days and also kept the inmates calm.
Three meals a day, a bed and pillow, time outside and an afternoon to evening smoke while watching the Nine News, wrestling and some reality TV show during night-lockdown made prison a good place for Johnny. Much better than the outside.
The last time out, he was sleeping in a cheap beach-tent at Belmore Park, right next to Central Station in the centre of Sydney. It would be cold there, sometimes the ground was wet, and the days went by in a haze of begging for money, chasing gear and catching trains to far off suburbs to score.
He'd often spend the time during peak-hour sitting on the tiled floor of the underground pedestrian tunnel that lay beneath the large Central train terminal, which allowed commuters and university students to move from one side of the city to the other.
He had a sign fashioned from a discarded fruit box, written on in black texta: "Homeless and cold. Tryna keep warm. Outta work. Need money for food."
That need for food always worked a treat with the well-dressed office-goers and the do-gooder uni students.
What they didn't know, and what Johnny knew, was that he'd never held down a job and there was plenty of food available for free in Sydney.
There was so many churches competing for halos and godliness that at all times of the day, food vans would appear in the park, offering hot meal and forgiveness. Some even came from way out west, travelling two hours from Lithgow. There might be homeless people in Lithgow wanting for food, but there was more chance of the pastor gaining a greater number of homeless followers in the city.
Johnny was always willing to pray and give thanks to the dear lord if it meant a plastic container filled with warm rice and a meaty casserole.
The church squads loved it. Felt like they were giving back. But all it really meant was that Johnny didn't have to waste his $500 fortnightly dole cheque on food and could instead spend it on cigarettes, alcohol and any illicit substances he could get his hands on.
Johnny got busted one day while smoking ice and fondling a 14-year-old in his tent at Belmore Park. Now he was back behind bars and he didn't mind it so much, except that smokes had now been banned.
New inmates would be given 'nicotine replacement therapy', which meant they were issued with a supply of stick-on patches for two months to allow them to adapt to the new smoke-free rules.
Despite his prison experience, Johnny was stood over on his first day and told to hand over his patches.
The more experienced, long-term inmates would then place the patches in boiling water with a teabag. The teabag would apparently absorb the valuable nicotine, be opened up, dried out and the nicotine-infused tea became 'teabaccy', which was then rolled in paper to make quasi-cigarettes.
Once Johnny became aware of this recipe, he refused to give up his patches the next time, was stabbed near the eye with a biro and taken to the prison clinic. He refused to tell the officers why he had an injury and was discharged within an hour, the pen removed.
So yeah, prison wasn't so great anymore.
Johnny decided to remain quiet and well-behaved, get out of there as soon as possible and smoke when he pleased. He signed up for the programs that would give him parole early. Even the sex offenders course.
The girl might have been 14, but she sure didn't look it. Johnny was no sex offender, he assured himself, but he was happy to do the six-week rehab program if it meant getting out of there sooner and regaining his freedom back at Belmore Park.