17 November 2005

ACT Prisoners to have access to a needle exchange

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ABC online is reporting here that our benevolent government will allowing prisoners who are locked in the Hyatt Regency Hume, to have access to a needle exchangwe program, in case the knitting needle they were using to make woollens for their mum gets turned into a shiv by an enterprising cell mate.

Deb Foskey is saying it is fantastic idea to protect the prisoners from Hep and HIV. Who is going to protect the rest of the ACT from Deb Foskey?

Bring on a shovel, the call to dig your hole and a shot gun I say.

[ED – The ABC Also has Mr. Stanhope hosing this idea down]

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The ACCC would probably quash Maelinar’s idea, since it would provide prison officers with a total monopoly in the prison drug market.

Simto, that is my personal opinion, and I belive that you could get away with reduced time sentences if you were truly locked away with no access to anybody.

The fact of the matter being that prisoners are getting out with reduced sentences simply because the prisons are too full to contain any more, but that’s an assett issue.

I guess my only salvation is that the chappie who slaughtered half of condoblin would get his sentence of isolation, whereas the custodial sentence chap would not be there so long.

All prisoners ARE created equal. They are being detained by the state. As soon as you grant them differing rights by virtue of their crime, you enter shark-infested waters.

The extent of the crime should match the extent of the sentence, not the way they are treated while inside.

ALL prisoners should be in total isolation? Everyone from “I slaughtered half of Condoblin” down to the pissiest crime that still requires a custodial sentance should be stuck in their cell all the time?

Not all prisoners are created equal, and not all prisoners are equally scummy. SOME rights should be removed from them, sure (right to free and open movement, for a start), but the range of rights restriction HAS to be at least a little bit flexible if you’re going to have a system that works.

Eventually, some of these people are going to get released again. If you’ve stripped them of any contact with regular society during that time, it’s going to be nigh-well impossible for them to integrate in any useful way with the real world again. Which means that any custodial sentance effectively doubles in harshness, and you’ll see judges even less inclined to hand them out at all.

Let me get this straight:

Drugs are illegal, however since they can be ‘obtained’ (I won’t go into details) in prison, they should be legally allowed to do the drugs, in the very place that they have been sent to learn their lesson ?

I know that prisons are a deprivation of rights, but we’re taking it a bit too far to insinuate that it would be a good thing to sanctify drug use within prisons.

Yes JB, I know the system doesn’t work, no need to comment, your solutions aren’t practical, nor do they address the problem.

What needs to occur is an alternative solution, that is practical, and falls within the confines of the law.

Since last time I checked, doing drugs was still on the list of ‘illegal’ things to do, the answer remains that drugs must be seperated from inmates.

And yes we will continue to try to do that.

*disclaimer* I no longer work within any capacity to affect the conduct of a prison, but am talking as a supporter of exclusion from drugs.

There have been numerous advances in the fields of drug detection, yet these advances haven’t made it down to prison level yet.

What if the money which was earmarked towards constructing a shooting gallery was instead used to purchase a drug sniffer ?

What if prisoners were rotated through cells on a regular basis (deprivation of hiding places) ?

What if prisoners were kept in total isolation like they bloody well should be ? – including no access to visitors ?

What I’m trying to portray is there are more options avaliable than just throwing our hands in the air and saying, ‘here take the needles’.

Mark my words; Prisoners DO NOT HAVE RIGHTS. They have been forcibly taken away from them by the state, and they are not entitled to be treated in the same way as a non-prisoner. The reason for this is because they have been proven guilty by a court of law, for being a nasty ju-ju.

To imply that they have rights – other than the basic set of human rights, which are applicable to all humans, is bullshit.

Ralph: Coffee just came out of my nose.

I know, I know, I’m a classy dame.

We should all feel very honoured that VG has taken the time to express his views to us. It’s quite obvious that he knows everything, and he’s a far superior specimen of the gene pool than the rest of us…. I’m so pleased to hear that he’s breeding.

Now JB, be nice. VG admits he voted liberal. So he’s obviously not very bright. He should be treated like ALL our “special friends”. Be nice to him, and maybe buy him a bus.

Also, he appears to have worked in every occupation known to man, and was bloody good at every single one of them (he must, of course, be about 150 years old to have accomplished all he says he has) so OF COURSE EVERYONE ELSE IS AN INFERIOR HUMAN BEING.

For God’s sake JB, I thought you were smarter than that.

It does kinda raise the question of how VG can go on being a cop if he believes his job is dealing with people who are worthless, to achieve outcomes which are worthless, within a system that is worthless. Surely that’s got to be somewhat soul destroying?

Yes, I’m aware this is hitting well below the belt. But considering that VG’s not advserse to the same tactics, hey, who gives a damn?

I look forward to the pics of you two socialising politely at the Nun tomorrow night.

Incidentally VG have I ever mentioned how impressed I am that you’ve never yet made a point without assuming that everyone holding a contrary view is in someway an inferior human being to yourself?


Yes I know, you go off and i retaliate and give up the high ground to have a row.

but you’re very special in the invariable way you assume that everyone with a different view is some sort of criminal scum.

i suppose it goes with the tenuous grip on logic and causality.

So how did the drugs get in then VG?

Nice try champ, but shallow invective will get you nowhere. 5 years as a ‘screw’ in the NSW Corrections system means I just happened to have trumped you there as well.

The white flag is at the bottom of your pole, time to shimmy it on up there.

You ‘lived’ with a nurse? I lived with a goldfish bowl once, doesnt mean I can hold my breath infinitely.

‘Harm minimisation’ is a buzz phrase for those who don’t have the intestinal fortitude to confront reality.

And, as a married man with a new born, I am far from sad and lonely, unlike yourself who’s own romantic tomes on this site leave a lot to be desired.

Game, set and match

Do efforts to reduce speed minimise harm? Yes! Do you apply this pathetic level of logic to policing VG?

If there are no needles in the prisons then a needle exchange will do nothing.

Where’s the problem? Oh wait VG doesn’t get to swing his big balls.

So you’re a prison guard too VG?

I’ve lived with nurses and spent a lot of time with financial services bods.

I must have been hallucinating the experience because it doesn’t accord with your sad and lonely world view.

Idle sarcasm to attempt to draw a rise, nice try JB but the adults are talking now.

It is naive to think we can eradicate speeding. Using your logic we should then make it open slather on the roads?

Again you seem to have an experts in depth knowledge of my occupation without actually being involved. You are either telepathic or a know it all. I’d suggest the latter. Either that or, beaing in mind your comment regarding the financial sector and nurses, a very paranoid individual

VG, the only drug users you deal with are the disfunctional ones, those scum you’re describing include almost the whole financial services industry and a huge chunk of the nurses.

getting back to the point at hand….

The day you can eradicate the drugs from the prisons I’ll be 100% behind your approach.

In the meantime you’re suggesting we watch the guards get stabbed with re-used, ground down needles.

You seem to be the sort of person who keeps doing things they know won’t work.

That’s a definition of insanity isn’t it?


Your solution suggests the judicial system collectively throws their hands in the air and just let it happen.

There are people on this forum who have had more interaction with drug users, and the associasted hazards, than people like JB have had hot breakfasts so yes, I consider myself somewhat of an expert on the subject.

Perhaps you’ll volunteer to drive the van down the Standope Memorial Rehab and Love In Centre? You seem to be the sort of person who has spent a life giving up things because they are too hard. Best leave the tough stuff to those with the fortitude to deal with it

my suggestion is that we minimise the harm.

not the harm to the felons, the harm they can do to the rest of the community.


They wont die inside because no one does any decent time when sentenced in the ACT. Jails are already loaded with junkies who lack education and motivation to to anything at all, let alone worry about passing on whatever they are carrying to other people.

You can’t educate those who don’t want to be educated, and you certainly can’t motivate someone who’s reason for living is a needle in the arm.

Whats your suggestion then, that we throw more money at ‘support’ and ‘education’ programs for crooks to take advantage of so they can go back before a Magistrate and say how well behaved they have been and get bailed. All the while people who are genuinely unwell have to get 2nd rate care in a public hospital because the money for their care has been spent on some piece of shit who has self induced mental illness and the alphabet of STD’S from using drugs.

You hold these people in far too high esteem.

Rose coloured glasses VG?

You’re the naif who thinks we can keep the needles out of the jail in the first place.

As for DVD, you really are a stupid moron. They won’t die inside, they’ll re-enter the community loaded down with disease and lacking the education or motivation to keep it to themselves.

Nice move.

Just keep wearing those rose coloured glasses JB, lets harm minimise and hug everyone.

Should this happen I’ll be sure to wave your ‘logic’ in front of the first prison guard that gets a needle stick injury from one of the aforementioned needles.

OH&S of the guards 1st
Harm minimisation a very, very, VERY distant 2nd

Thumper, wonsworld and vg all well said. I was starting to think Canberran’s were getting it, then johnboy came along and poo’d all over my common sense parade.

Harm minimisation ? The pieces of shit in jail are there for a reason, the more diseases they get quicker they will drop dead which is good news for all the decent people who have to put up with this filth walking around in the streets.

If Deb Foskey is so worried about giving these maggots access to everything, here’s an idea, why not put a noose in each cell that way its there for any time some junkie is having a bad come down after shooting up in jail and they can neck themselves and do us all a favour.

Condoning the use of needles is condoning the use of drugs. Drugs kill people. If junkies want to kill themselves, give them a noose or a 9mm each. Simple.

As for stopping drugs coming into the prisons ? Take a book out of Changi Prisons manual – Real time where you get a good flogging for playing up and no human contact with the outisde, but then the only problem there is figuring out a way for all the do-gooders to fix the junkies lives with their hug-power.

Ok hardasses, you’re 100% right, as long as you can keep drugs and needles out of the prison.

Now, bright ideas how to do that? anyone? anyone?

So, shall we look to ways to make the best of the bad situation? or keep doing what we’ve always done before and which has never worked?

Without harm minimisation what we’re effectively doing with any prison is to take the worst of our society, brutalise them further, infect them with dangerous diseases, AND THEN PUT THEM BACK OUT MORE DANGEROUS THAN THEY WERE BEFORE.

Great thinking.

BTW the mysterious way the drugs get into prisons is because some prison officers are corrupt.

I imagine it will take between 1 day and 18 months for the same to be true in the ACT prison.

If you think ti won’t happen then you’re as blind to economics as the most moon-addled green.

You can either make humaan nature work for you, or you can have it run right over you, but stamping your little feet is unlikely to have much effect.

No-one seems to recall the NSW Corrections Officer in fected with HIV by a prisoner after he stabbed him with s syringe filled with the crooks blood? Happened 7 or 8 years ago I recall.

Without doubt one of the most stupendously stupid ideas ever suggested by the tin pot town council. The needles WILL (not might) end up as weapons against not only prison guards, but other inmates.

Providing a room to use the needles? Ever heard of the offence of aiding and abetting?

I’m sorry, when you go to prison (and its primary role is punishment, not rehabilitation; which is secondary) you lose the right to certain things that those outside of a prison enjoy. This includes your freedom of movement, association etc.

The stupidity of the whole suggestion stuns me to the point where I am so angry I can hardly speak. So you can have a needle to use something illegal, illegally introduced into the prison by an outsider. We’re not talking the file in the birthday cake here. These are drugs, the bane of contemporary society.

If you give them needles you may as well set up a bar for the alcoholics, why not a nightclub for the pill poppers?

The Deb Foskey Gaol, the happiest place on earth

Agrees with you thumper…

They aint in gaol to get on or hit up. They have lost certain rights to citizenship … one of which I would have assumed is the right to legally shoot up in galleries…

It strikes me as being funny how it’s probably the same people who are crying for one prisioner in Singapore not to be harmed are the same people who are crying out now to let prisioners here kill themselves slowly..

Bea would never had put up with this, I remember what she did to Frankie and Dooreen…

And who the hell writes for Corbell? Sir Humprey Appleby???

If there was a room provided, for no questions asked access, where upon arrival a lazy butler delivered a needle, and it was conditional upon exit that the used needle be handed over (as in the door was locked until the needle exchange had occured), then I probably wouldn’t have a problem with it.

But is that really going to happen ?

First chance they get the prisoners will be doing Hannibal Lecter’s all over the guards, and we’ll get the opportunity to say I told you so.

Health Minister Corbell from proof Hansard [http://www.tip.net.au/~cmalot/qtime/pq051116.pdf]
in response to a question last Wednesday.

MR CORBELL: I start by making very clear the government’s position on this matter: the government has not yet taken a decision on the details of the Corrections Health plan for the prison. That is work currently being finalised.

Obviously, as part of Corrections Health planning, the issue of disease communication in the prison environment, particularly blood-borne disease and the desirability or otherwise of a needle and syringe program, will need to be considered by the government, and it will be when the Corrections Health plan is considered by the government as a whole through the cabinet process.

That said, as Minister for Health, I have a responsibility to communicate and to advocate the importance of reducing the spread of blood-borne diseases in any environment, particularly in the prison environment, where we know that drug use and injecting drug use goes on.

The evidence on the effectiveness of needle and syringe programs generally is well accepted, given the experience in the broader community. In the broader community, we know that the availability of clean injecting equipment leads to
a reduction in needle-sharing activity, and leads therefore to a reduction in the spread of blood-borne diseases that can come about because of needle-sharing activity.

Because of programs such as the needle and yringe program in the ACT and other jurisdictions, over the past one to two decades we have seen very significant control over the spread of diseases. We also know that, where clean injecting equipment is not available, there is an increase in risk-taking behaviour, including the sharing of syringes and needles. That can lead to the spread of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C and so on.

16 November 2005 Legislative Assembly for the ACT
The government is very conscious of these issues.

We know that drug-taking activity takes place in a prison environment. We know that needles get into prisons, even maximum-security prisons. And we know that, where needles do get into prison and
there is no possibility of getting a clean needle, those needles are used again and again.

Those are serious issues for the government.

I know that my colleague the Chief Minister, Mr Stanhope, has raised concerns about security, and occupational health and safety issues. I eiterate those concerns. Those are very significant and serious issues that must be taken account of as the government considers this difficult but important issue. I will be paying close attention to the development of the Corrections Health plan and speaking to my colleagues about it as we consider this very complex and important issue. It is important to stress that there is evidence in other jurisdictions overseas as to the effectiveness of these programs, particularly in Spain, which as a western European country has had such a program in place for some time. It has worked effectively in reducing the spread of disease without compromising health and safety issues in the
prison environment. These issues need to be looked at closely to see whether they are applicable in the Australian context.

I note that the Liberal opposition has come out and said point blank, “No”, that this should not even be considered in the prison environment and that its focus is on rehabilitation. Of course, rehabilitation is very important and we should be making every avenue available to assist people with rehabilitation.

But that general philosophical approach that we have heard from Mr Stefaniak in the last couple of days highlights the fact that the opposition till does not appreciate the importance of harm minimisation as one element of a strategy to reduce the spread of disease in our community. The logical extension of the Liberal Party’s position is that there should be no needle and syringe programs available at all, anywhere to anyone, because the focus should be on rehabilitation.

I argue that that is a very dangerous and risky position for the Liberal Party to promote. It works fine for those people who are able to kick the habit and who are able to go through a rehabilitation program and detoxification program and get there. But it does not work for those who still engage in risky behaviour and need a harm-minimisation approach.

Well, there are, believe it or not, legitimate reasons for syringes to be in prisons (a couple of prisoners may have diabetes, for example).

However, I would assume that the use of these would be very closely monitored so that syringes don’t go missing.

Besides, prisoners who want to get high can do so very easily without having to IV inject – from watching the occasional episode of “Oz”, I’m not sure I’ve seen much IV injection.

Absent diane, I am entirely with you. How do they get the needles? I mean, I can kind of un derstand how drugs themselves could be smuggled into a gaol, but how do you smuggle in a hypodermic syringe? Where do you stick it?! I just don’t get it.

But if there are needles in the prison, then as I said, I think a lot of the arguments against this proposal just fall away. And I agree with the idea that the exchange could provide single-use only syringes – surely that is what they do anyway?

Maelinar, I think your point about being “legally allowed to inject” is an interesting one. A lot of what people say about this kind of thing misrepresents the issue – no-one is proposing providing drugs, only the needles. The provisions of needles implicitly acknowledges that drug use will occur, of course. I guess the question is, is it better to acknowledge that and try to deal with it and manage it (to prevent the spread of disease etc) than to bury your head in the sand and ignore it?

I can understand the prison guards’ concerns. I just don’t think this idea should be admitted as being from a loony – it does have some merit and logic behind it. In the end, it might be that the arguments againts it are stronger, but I think it is worth considering. That’s all. [/Sermon]

Bill Stefaniak has put out a media release hoping there might be some sort of drug re-hab in the prison seeing as the vast majority of crime in canberra is drug related.

There’s no prison in the world that’s manage to keep drugs out so I think we might have to deal with the reality that there will be drugs in this prison too.

In which case would the guards rather be stabbed by a nice new needle or an old one that’s been resharpened and re-used a thousand times?

tough call eh?

(next 2cc chit-chat gets deleted, no kidding, email me if you want to talk about it)

Samuel Gordon-Stewart4:39 pm 17 Nov 05

Stanhope told Jeffreys once that he listens to his program, but I suspect what really happens is his media advisors tell him “They’re rubbishing/praising you again on…” and then he changes the dial to whatever station he needs to listen to. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has told the ABC the same thing.

AD, that was my reference about ‘swiss cheese’

Chris, Hear Hear.

There was quite a spirited exchange between Jeffreys and some woman (not Foskey but equally whiney-voiced) and McConnell, whose son died of an overdose. Then Mike had a guy come on who was a prison guard who said he”didn’t give a Continental” about the political correctness, ‘giving prisoners needles was the same as giving them weapons’ or words to that effect. Very convincing, hope the Dear Leader was tuned into 2CC

Absent Diane3:36 pm 17 Nov 05

I wanna know how the needles get in there in the first place…. does that seem odd to anyone else or am i just being naive…

areaman, I didn’t know that they have moved towards a ‘swap meet’ in prison.

Line them up for rehab – why would any government want to encourage drug use?

No one’s would be offfered needles if they didn’t already have them, it would just be a swap, so it shouldn’t add to the total number of sharps in the prison population.

screamingmonkey3:00 pm 17 Nov 05

the point is though smacking one, why the fark should they be encouraged to take drugs illegally by providing assistance to do so – they get enough luxuries as it is

I think Stan the Man is a little off track this time around – people in prison aren’t going to use drugs just because they have access to clean needles, they’ll use drugs with dirty needles because that’s all they have access to.

A prison sentence isn’t a HepC or HIV sentence – as much as some posters might think prisoners deserve.

Of course the prison authorities try to stop access to drugs – but you are dealing with people with a range of experience in getting around security and laws, so what guarantee this will succeed.

Another option I guess is those single-use syringes.

Smackbang, your argument holds… Kind of…

At the moment, if a security guard finds a needle, they can confiscate it, thereby eliminating the risk of it being filled with AIDS blood and stabbed into them.

When you are legally allowed to inject within the prison, they won’t be able to confiscate the item.

Whilst they already get paid danger pay because of the very real risk that this situation could happen, by upping the ante their danger money will begin to seem all the more insignificant.

Beat them with Black Pudding Ecky Thump style i say.

Surely if these people are injecting drugs then the risk to the security guards is there anyway? So I don’t see the whole security argument as being very convincing – if they have needles anyway (I don’t know how) then they could use thos needles as weapons. So to the extent there is already a risk, I don’t see that this makes it worse.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart2:10 pm 17 Nov 05

I wasn’t listening yesterday morning, but I would imagine regular breakfast presenter brought hippie woman on for some laughs. I can’t imagine him agreeing with her.

screamingmonkey1:50 pm 17 Nov 05

heard some hippie on talkback samuels radio station yesterday morning praising this idea because it’ll stop the great unwashed from contracting HepC when the felons are released

funny, I always thought that a custodial sentence was a punishment but hey, if they can use drugs illegally, let’s aid and abet by helping them inject and giving out free needles – don’t try and stop the access to drugs

this hippie idea seems too much even for the mayor who has softly poo-pooed it

good to see him back on earth thinking local and not trying to change the world on our behalf – now to get him to focus on those pot holes

For people without access to drugs, they seem to be making the system that has been put in place to keep them from such items look a lot like swiss cheese.

By providing needles, you are acknowledging that you have a security problem in your prison system, I don’t know which is worse.

I certainly know that having worked as a prison guard (when the NZDF took over the prisons cause the guards went on strike when the IR legislation was introduced in NZ), if a prisoner took you hostage with a needle, it would most likely end up with you contracting AIDS.

Giving junkies needles is one thing, but giving prisoners weapons is another.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart1:28 pm 17 Nov 05

That’s funny, I could have been certain that just the other day it was a Stanhope/Foskey alliance on this issue with a Smyth opposition…and I’m ever so certain that I wasn’t dreaming.

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