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Injecting hope into our prisons….WHAT THE ?

By Proboscus 7 January 2011 51

Dear Rioters,

I have been a little overwhelmed by the massive push for syringes to be available inside our Human Rights Prison – the Hume Hilton.  I keep seeing in the media  that it’s going to happen – Stanhope, Corbell, Gallagher, Bresnan and even the Editor of the Canberra Times are for it – and they all have a very loud voice in this issue.  But what about the guards who work there – don’t they have a voice too?

I have a friend who works at the Hilton and he tells me that EVERYONE is against this proposed syringe program, buttheir hands are tied and they can’t go to the media to have their say.  He tells me that even their union – the CPSU – are adopting a wait and see approach before they start even consider putting their case forward for not having syringes in the place. 


Speaking over a few beers last Sunday afternoon I played Devils Advocate with my mate and spoke about how a syringe program would stop all the horible diseases from spreading and making the world a better place – the same argument that the do-gooders are using.  He told me that all the guests at the Hilton are tested for diseases BEFORE they mix with the other guests and that NO-ONE has received any kind of blood-borne disease within the walls of the Hilton (the one case that was recorded, the one that all the advocates are hanging their hats on, was a false reading).

My mate then asked me a couple of questions.  He asked me “Who would be responsible if one of our finest died from a drug overdose inside the Hilton – Stanhope?  No.  Corbell?  No.  Gallagher?  No.  Maybe Bresnan?  No.” 

“The responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of the guards.   Can you believe that?  The guards will be responsible for a junkie taking an ILLEGAL substance with an implement issued by the Government that was not wanted by the guards in the first place!!!” 


My mate then asked me how guests, or their visitors, could be charged for bringing illicit and illegal substances into the Hilton when the Government were providing drug taking implements to the guests?  Answer – You won’t be able to charge them or enforce any law.  


Anyway, I’m interested in what the rest of you have to say in regards to this issue.

What’s Your opinion?

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51 Responses to
Injecting hope into our prisons….WHAT THE ?
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olfella 8:11 pm 08 Jan 11

JessicaNumber said :

You guys are just incredible. The reason we offer needle exchange programs, methadone and so on is that drug use in itself isn’t really hurting anyone but the user and doesn’t usually make him or her a spitting demon (rare cases of violent amphetamine psychosis aside, of course)

Sorry to disagree but drugs of all sorts is a much sought after commodity and therefore an effective bartering tool, especially in an environment such as AMC. Now if someone had a problem, then I am certain there is a methadone program in place whereby those requiring have access to it via a nurse.

LSWCHP 7:27 pm 08 Jan 11

JN wrote: “You guys are just incredible. “

I read that through once and thought “Whoa…seems sensibly written, but there must be some pretty subtle points there because I can’t really follow the reasoning”. So I read it again, and was still confused. Then I read it several more times, slowly.

Eventually the light dawned. It’s not a complex and difficult argument, it’s complete gibberish. I can’t take issue with any of the content because there’s nothing sensible to grapple with.

Oh well…

JessicaNumber 4:35 pm 08 Jan 11

You guys are just incredible. The reason we offer needle exchange programs, methadone and so on is that drug use in itself isn’t really hurting anyone but the user and doesn’t usually make him or her a spitting demon (rare cases of violent amphetamine psychosis aside, of course). It’s just a really bad idea that causes itself to be repeated then sometimes influences other much worse ones and people should be encouraged to recover from the bad choices that got them dependent on drugs, preferably before they get into seriously antisocial behavior to support their need.

Putting a “no questions asked” needle exchange in a prison should not even be up for debate. It should have just happened from the get-go. Don’t you realise that the promise of future needles is a good reason to return a used one? Any prisoner seriously planning to use a syringe as a weapon later is extremely messed up and needs a good hospital, not a prison. I heard that ACT magistrates are only too happy to help him or her find one.

Finally, think about the factors that keep you off drugs and ask yourself if maybe those can be used to entice users back into society. Fear of consequences might be an important one but I’m personally more concerned about hangovers, dependency, bad decisions while intoxicated and negative health outcomes than the fear that I would go to prison for trying the latest pill or smoking a joint. Am I normal or are you all going around thinking “I’d just love to be a junkie but I won’t because I might have to visit the AMC”? If I’m basically mentally sound then users really should be given every opportunity to make something of themselves that will mean more than an empty high. It might just keep our prison guards healthy and your TV in your living room!

Mental Health Worker 4:33 pm 08 Jan 11

and this seems to demonstrate that it can happen: and another article on the same incident

Mental Health Worker 4:15 pm 08 Jan 11

This article may be interesting to those of you with no prison experience:

LSWCHP 2:25 pm 08 Jan 11

An absolutely premium example of the gigantic void between the ruling elite and the rest of the community. Actually, I shouldn’t call them an elite. They rule, (not govern) but there’s nothing elite about the second rate band of clowns who run the show in the territory. Sadly, the alternative crew appear to be even less elite than the incumbents, which is Very Discouraging Indeed.

Anyway, I don’t think prisons should be 19th century hellholes, but I also don’t think they should be places where illegal drugs are tolerated. The surreal irony of imprisoning people for drug use, and then supplying drug paraphenalia is obvious.

I wish that the general public had some mechanism (referenda etc) for providing effective input into silly decisions like this.

Proboscus 2:17 pm 08 Jan 11

…Oops sorry – BE forced upon us?

Proboscus 2:15 pm 08 Jan 11

I’ve been trying to locate my mate on hols to answer a few more questions that have been raised by some of you but he must be in 3G free environment. I will endeavour to keep chasing him though.

Anyway, my two-cents: If junkies have access to clean syringes in the community (which they do), and they are still catching these horrible diseases because they are too stupid or lazy to collect these clean needles, then why give them syringes in jail?

Are the prisoners with alcohol issues given grog? No. Are the murderers or wife beaters given pinatas to hit when they feel like it? No – although I still have to confirm the latter with my mate.

Drug abusers in this town get EVERYTHING and ANYTHING they want for FREE!!! Housing, money, rehab and methadone. Do you know how much the methadone program costs us law abiding citizens? No, neither do I, because I can’t find it anywhere. But I’ve been told that the stuff is really f@#%ing expensive – it would run into the tens of millions!!!

Now if the do-gooders of this town want to sponser a junkie and use their own money from their own pocket – go for it. But for the rest of us – why does paying for these oxygen thieves have to forced upon us?

georgesgenitals 1:44 pm 08 Jan 11

“The bottom line is, they shouldn’t be doing drugs in the first place. Human rights are to protect us from inhumane treatment, not for enhancing the prison experience or saving someone from themselves.”

Best comment of the thread.

wildturkeycanoe 12:38 pm 08 Jan 11

Why should the taxpayer be funding /encouraging illegal behavior in a place where criminals are supposed to be learning to live in a law abiding way?? It is contradictory, to say the least. It’s like giving a repeat drink drive offender a race track of his own so he won’t harm others. It’s like giving a serial rapist a blow up doll. It’s like sitting a murderer in front of a PC and letting him play violent role playing war games. Counterproductive and totally wrong.
If these inmates are going to use the illegal drugs with the same needles and catch diseases because of it, it’s their own fault. Clean needles should only be given to those that need them, such as diabetics. If the one’s who managed somehow to smuggle a syringe into jail want a clean needle…smuggle another one in the same way they got the first one if they’re that worried.
The bottom line is, they shouldn’t be doing drugs in the first place. Human rights are to protect us from inhumane treatment, not for enhancing the prison experience or saving someone from themselves.

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