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Jeremy Hanson’s response to “small problem” over blood borne diseases

By johnboy 12 January 2011 24

letter to the editor

Following on from the Chiefly castigation of Jeremy Hanson the Liberals have emailed through a scan of a letter to the editor they’ve had published on this issue.

To date, just one case of transmission has occurred in 18 months. Given that several hundred prisoners have moved through the jail since it opened, this equates to a transfer rate of about a quarter to a half of 1 per cent.


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Jeremy Hanson’s response to “small problem” over blood borne diseases
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p1 1:04 pm 14 Jun 11

Since this thread has been resurrected…

Peep said :

Which brings me to my new point – Crims shouldn’t be allowed anything in prisons that we’re not allowed on planes.

So no glasses, aerosol cans or nail clippers.

Well that solved the question of weather they should be allowed to smoke.

Jim Jones 12:27 pm 14 Jun 11

Pippy said :

fgzk said :

In 2008 Prison Based Syringe Exchange (PSE) operated in 60 prisons in at least 9 countries including Switzerland, Spain, Germany, Belarus, America, Iran, Kyrgystan, Moldova and Luxembourg (AVIL 2008)

.

anyone know how many of these are still in operation?

All of them.

Needle exchange programs generally don’t get shut down because they’re been proven to be a highly effective means of harm minimisation.

Pippy 12:04 pm 14 Jun 11

fgzk said :

In 2008 Prison Based Syringe Exchange (PSE) operated in 60 prisons in at least 9 countries including Switzerland, Spain, Germany, Belarus, America, Iran, Kyrgystan, Moldova and Luxembourg (AVIL 2008)

.

anyone know how many of these are still in operation?

fgzk 2:28 pm 14 Jan 11

Pippy “your whole attitude to this issue is contradictory, in any suggestion that there is such a thing as “healthy use of drugs” . ok – so what do you suggest they inject with these provided needles?”

Way to go with the miss quoting. But now that you mentioned it, yes I would support the “healthy use of drugs.”

If you want to read the information available then you might like to contact AVIL or visit their web site. avil.org.au I found a paper ” Legislative and policy barriers to needle and syringe programs and injecting equipment access for people who inject drugs(2010)” that directly discusses the AMC NSP program.
In 2008 Prison Based Syringe Exchange (PSE) operated in 60 prisons in at least 9 countries including Switzerland, Spain, Germany, Belarus, America, Iran, Kyrgystan, Moldova and Luxembourg (AVIL 2008)

I believe what is being discussed is a trail program. We have a new jail and an opportunity to explore what can be done. We should at least take the opportunity to test the evidence gained from overseas. If the guards don’t think it will work then I’m sure they will have every opportunity to contribute to its failure.

Needle exchange programs have proved time and again to be the most cost effective way of dealing with a groups of issues that effect a small part of the community. It has reduced the transmition of BBV’s. That should be enough to support it.

Risky behaviour is part of life. I doubt needles are responsible. My guess would be its more of a people thing.

IndigoBlue A second hand story from a poverty stricken African state where one user injects the drugs and then shares his blood via a transfusion with three other people. Sick junkies have just got to get it in. Odd, isn’t it.

IndigoBlue 3:09 am 14 Jan 11

JustThinking said :

We have needle exchanges outside of prisons but does it stop the sharing of needles (of those who don’t care)?
Why would it have so much greater effect inside prison?

I agree I reckon junkie carelessness works something like this…

Got the gear? Yep…
Got a clean fit? No… I can get one tomorrow…
Bugger that can’t wait… you haven’t got C have you?
No way!
Ok great… I trust you I’ll use yours…

Simple as that inside or outside prison.

Pippy 11:12 pm 13 Jan 11

fgzk said :

Yes it does stop sharing. More importantly it encourages the user to manage their use. It also presents an opportunity to collect factual information, offer information and directly affect the drug users habits in a realistic way. Most of all it addresses a long term public health issue.
……..
Pippy presents the same contradiction. Society will never be free of “drugs”. When an inmate is released, regardless of what they have achieved in the “idealistic vacuum of jail”, a vast array of illegal and legal drugs will be available when they step out of the cab.
……..
Restricting substances has not provided any “community safety” past, present or future. It would be unrealistic to ignore the criminal aspect. However, to totally focus on the criminal aspect, (As we mostly have been doing), ignores a fundamental fact. Drug use affects the health and well being of the user first. Then comes the crime. The only real long term effect you can hope for is to facilitate healthy outcomes for everyone in what ever way you can. The contradiction stands, we expect the drug user (who is on drugs) to make a choice that we as a community are not willing to do. Reduce the harm that drugs create in the users lives and the community.

You cant stop drug use. What you can do is manage it. Help to facilitate healthy outcomes and encourage the user to follow your lead.

May I suggest that what is happening today is just a cycle of ignoring reality. Drug users do it with chemicals. What’s your excuse?

Doing more of the same wont change anything.

your whole attitude to this issue is contradictory, in any suggestion that there is such a thing as “healthy use of drugs” . ok – so what do you suggest they inject with these provided needles? if the prison is facilitating the unavoidable use of drugs, in a “healthy” way, how do they monitor what they are injecting??? what about the issue of standover, or targeted interception by staff, when someone accesses a needle? If Prisoner X goes to get a needle on exchange, he might as well wear a big glowing neon sign that says “I have drugs”.

Providing needle exchange in a prison laughs in the face of the people who are putting efforts into educating and/or rehabilitating criminals in order to reduce their risk of reoffending, or the efforts in detecting and intercepting contraband. the tone of your post indicates that there is no point at these efforts, as the use of drugs is inevitable. sadly this is the case with many drug “offenders”, but not all.

I agree with wildturkeycanoe “If you can’t get a needle but you can get the “fix”, it’s your own risk to self inject with used equipment”. the drug offenders within the prison go to a fair effort to obtain the drugs – how about going to the same effort to get off them. in the end, it comes down to a CHOICE. Not all drug offenders are addicted for life.

as far as i am aware (and you’re welcome to prove me wrong), the testing for BBV is only voluntary, and so the stats on transmission would be merely estimations, extrapolated from NSW data. is the needle exchange going to fix the “theoretical” problem. Drug use is a health issue in itself.

in addition – Please provide the evidence that providing needles will stop the sharing, and other risky behaviour related to drug use, I would be interested to read about it further.

fgzk 6:13 pm 13 Jan 11

JustThinking said “We have needle exchanges outside of prisons but does it stop the sharing of needles (of those who don’t care)?
Why would it have so much greater effect inside prison?”

Yes it does stop sharing. More importantly it encourages the user to manage their use. It also presents an opportunity to collect factual information, offer information and directly affect the drug users habits in a realistic way. Most of all it addresses a long term public health issue.

Pippy said “In my opinion, providing access to needles is contradictory to the approach that the prison is a vacuum free from drugs. Obviously this is an idealistic view, and we know that prisoners can sometimes get a hold of some sort of substance which they would smoke, ingest or inject.”

Pippy presents the same contradiction. Society will never be free of “drugs”. When an inmate is released, regardless of what they have achieved in the “idealistic vacuum of jail”, a vast array of illegal and legal drugs will be available when they step out of the cab.

Pippy then goes on to say “However, the approach to restricting the entrance of such substances (which in a LOT of cases is causal or linked to the crime they are imprisoned for), would be a better “community safety” approach in the long term, rather than facilitating (in a way) their continued drug use, and ignoring the criminal aspects of the crime itself.”

Restricting substances has not provided any “community safety” past, present or future. It would be unrealistic to ignore the criminal aspect. However, to totally focus on the criminal aspect, (As we mostly have been doing), ignores a fundamental fact. Drug use affects the health and well being of the user first. Then comes the crime. The only real long term effect you can hope for is to facilitate healthy outcomes for everyone in what ever way you can. The contradiction stands, we expect the drug user (who is on drugs) to make a choice that we as a community are not willing to do. Reduce the harm that drugs create in the users lives and the community.

You cant stop drug use. What you can do is manage it. Help to facilitate healthy outcomes and encourage the user to follow your lead.

May I suggest that what is happening today is just a cycle of ignoring reality. Drug users do it with chemicals. What’s your excuse?

Doing more of the same wont change anything.

JustThinking 5:28 pm 13 Jan 11

wildturkeycanoe said :

I tender my response from previous discussion about this issue – Human rights are not there to aid your “experience” in jail, nor to stop you harming yourself. They are about protecting everyone from abuse from others. If drugs are illegal, why do we enable/aid the use of them in prisons? Needles are for medical purposes, NOT for experimentation or “personal use”. If you can’t get a needle but you can get the “fix”, it’s your own risk to self inject with used equipment. Should be written in BOLD on the entry to jail and re-iterated daily for those who are coming down from their high. Your rights are forfeit on entry to the “holiday ‘Nochie”. At least that’s the way I would imagine a system that works.

I agree.
Make sure everyone who gets a free needle is paid up with their child support (which they do not HAVE to pay when in prison)
Make sure they have a job (which they do not need to do in prison)
Make sure they are working towards paying for the damage they did to others (eg if they stole a tv make them work to pay for it) which they do not have to do in prison.

Stop giving them everything and make them pay for their responsibilites…Being convicted of a crime should NOT mean you do NOT have to pay child support, damages or anything else…

People who work for years to buy a large flatscreen,,then have it stolen by a guy who gets 3 months????

wildturkeycanoe 5:16 pm 13 Jan 11

I tender my response from previous discussion about this issue – Human rights are not there to aid your “experience” in jail, nor to stop you harming yourself. They are about protecting everyone from abuse from others. If drugs are illegal, why do we enable/aid the use of them in prisons? Needles are for medical purposes, NOT for experimentation or “personal use”. If you can’t get a needle but you can get the “fix”, it’s your own risk to self inject with used equipment. Should be written in BOLD on the entry to jail and re-iterated daily for those who are coming down from their high. Your rights are forfeit on entry to the “holiday ‘Nochie”. At least that’s the way I would imagine a system that works.

Peep 4:34 pm 13 Jan 11

johnboy said :

well, it’s more like giving the alcoholics clean glasses.

This is true, however a glass can still be dangerous. I’ve seen train spotting.

Which brings me to my new point – Crims shouldn’t be allowed anything in prisons that we’re not allowed on planes.

So no glasses, aerosol cans or nail clippers.

The only issue I can see with that is that the stop prohibition guys and other bleeding hearts will complain that the ice addicts with no teeth won’t be able to chew their nails.

PM 4:15 pm 13 Jan 11

stopprohibition said :

Written on behalf of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition Australia

I wonder if “Prohibition Australia” exists…

Seriously, first thing’s first – you can’t treat it as a health issue inside prison and a criminal issue outside – there should be consistency.

And I think Pippy raises good points.

Pippy 4:06 pm 13 Jan 11

stopprohibition said :

The solution to the needle program is to have illicit drugs dealt with as a medical/health problem in society and not a law enforcement issue. Having drug dependent individuals properly treated and managed will stop the majority being sent to prison to start with. It will also save millions in a wasted battle that tries to stop illicit drugs being imported into Australia, plus the gangs and bikies who dominate the market. For more information stopprohibition@gmail.com. Written on behalf of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition Australia

My immediate reaction to this post (and without reading more arguments from your site) raises the question of how legalising drugs will benefit the community. How will it reduce the number of dependents? People imprisoned for drug related crimes are not limited to charges relating to their “possession” of the drug, but for what they do “under the influence” or “to fund the habit”.
Wouldn’t drugs being more readily available increase the crimes in these categories? Just because they would be legal to (possess, distribute, inject) does not make the consequences of its use any less criminal.
What type of health monitoring is suggested via the sanctioning of drugs, to ensure that the widespread availability does not negatively impact on current users, let alone the younger generation who would be more openly exposed to its uptake.
Not to have anything agains the idea of treating the addiction as a health or medical problem, but just by making it “legal”, does not make it “ok”. In my opinion, the prohibition of drug (use, possession etc), is partly driven by the factor of deterring drug (use, possession etc).
HOWEVER – prohibition (or not), of drugs is not the topic or the point here, and could well venture a long discussion (or debate, or argument).
The point is (for me), providing more access to needles for prisoners is ignoring the fact that drugs ARE illegal, and they ARE causal or linked to criminal behaviour.
How about effective monitoring of the health consequences of the use of drugs, or sharing injecting equipment. I would also be interested in the statistics regarding the use of drugs in prison (ie, urinalysis results, contraband finds, self-reporting), and whether expenditure and risk (as I discussed above) is beneficial in comparison to the monitoring and treatment of the prisoners who are in this category of infected (or not) intravenous drug users.

stopprohibition 3:31 pm 13 Jan 11

The solution to the needle program is to have illicit drugs dealt with as a medical/health problem in society and not a law enforcement issue. Having drug dependent individuals properly treated and managed will stop the majority being sent to prison to start with. It will also save millions in a wasted battle that tries to stop illicit drugs being imported into Australia, plus the gangs and bikies who dominate the market. For more information stopprohibition@gmail.com. Written on behalf of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition Australia

johnboy 3:19 pm 13 Jan 11

well, it’s more like giving the alcoholics clean glasses.

Peep 3:17 pm 13 Jan 11

In lieu of a well structured argument, I’m going to go the populous route –

We don’t give alcoholic criminals access to alcohol and we don’t give paedophiles access to children.

Flame on.

schmeah 2:32 pm 13 Jan 11

oooh, the Canberra Liberals supported by the union … a marriage doomed.

JustThinking 2:27 pm 13 Jan 11

We have needle exchanges outside of prisons but does it stop the sharing of needles (of those who don’t care)?
Why would it have so much greater effect inside prison?

Pippy 1:53 pm 13 Jan 11

in a prison with a rehabilitation approach to human rights, the provision of a needle exchange would be acknowledging the use of drugs within the prison itself.
There is a lot of research, trial, training and effort (and $$) committed to the “prevention” of drugs entering a prison. (not to mention the efforts of rehabilitation from crime, or drug use itself).
In my opinion, providing access to needles is contradictory to the approach that the prison is a vaccuum free from drugs. Obviously this is an idealistic view, and we know that prisoners can sometimes get a hold of some sort of substance which they would smoke, ingest or inject. However, the approach to restricting the entrance of such substances (which in a LOT of cases is causal or linked to the crime they are imprisoned for), would be a better “community safety” approach in the long term, rather than facilitating (in a way) their continued drug use, and ignoring the criminal aspects of the crime itself.
There are also a number of issues that will fall back on staff, including the higher distribution rate of needles that (could) be used as a weapon or threat against them, or other prisoners, as well as the question being raised, WHO has the duty of care to monitor what is being used in the needles? what will the prisoners be “injecting”? How can a custodial officer (or any other staff member) be sure of the minute-to-minute health and safety of the prisoners they are working with? will they use the needles to self-harm? how can a prisoner be responsible to actively participate in education, counselling or other rehabilitative efforts to reduce recidivism, if they are under the influence of drugs?
In this case I am whole heartedly with the opposition’s views on the potential introduction of needle exchanges within the prison environment. Why don’t we put more effort into the actual problem of drug use, through education, legislative reforms or rehabilitative efforts. I would like to see more evidence of the validity of such a proposed program prior to any “political” move to introduce it.

Tooks 9:54 am 13 Jan 11

Special G said :

Easy – Every prisoner starts with no contact with any others or outside world until conprehensive drug rehab program is completed. Followed by drug testing and the like. Should you fail a test – no contact until off the gear again. Stay in the rehab centre until clean.

I like that idea, but unfortunately it will never happen because such procedures would be in breach of their human rights.

Special G 9:46 am 13 Jan 11

Easy – Every prisoner starts with no contact with any others or outside world until conprehensive drug rehab program is completed. Followed by drug testing and the like. Should you fail a test – no contact until off the gear again. Stay in the rehab centre until clean.

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