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Needles in the prison up for public comment

By johnboy 28 July 2011 137

photo by Crash Test Addict CC BY

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher has announced the release of Michael Moore’s report: Balancing Access
and Safety: Meeting the challenge of blood borne viruses in prison
.

The report recommends:

    1. The ACT Corrections Management Act 2007 be amended to require the establishment of an NSP at the AMC.

    2. A clear set of rules, procedures and protocols be established through an appropriate process guided by the ACT Corrections Management Act.

    3. Adopt a contingency process for the implementation of appropriate model/s for a needle and syringe program at the AMC.

    4. Recruitment of a dedicated Aboriginal Health Worker position in an NSP and related service provision would be worthy of consideration.

    5. The installation of secure syringe disposal bins would further reduce the potential for accidental needle-stick injury and be worthy of consideration even without the implementation of an NSP.

    6. Future developments in retractable syringe technology will need to be considered as part of the ongoing development of an NSP in custodial settings.

    7. Legislative amendments be considered to protect all staff from potential civil and criminal liability.

“The Government engaged Michael Moore to investigate and report on models for the implementation of an NSP at the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC) and the project included an assessment of the barriers to implementation with a broad range of consultations held with key stakeholders,” Ms Gallagher said.

The report has made seven (7) recommendations and the Government will now consider the recommendations, and seek the views of the community about the report, prior to finalising our response to report.

“The Government will welcome feedback from stakeholders to assist us with our final consideration of this very important issue. It’s important for anyone interested to provide their feedback on the report to the government over the next six week period.”

The consultation closes on 8 September and submissions can be made to AODpolicy@act.gov.au .

UPDATE: The Greens have announced their approval.

[photo by Crash Test Addict CC BY]

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Needles in the prison up for public comment
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fgzk 10:08 am 02 Aug 11

Sounds like more ass. Your “Asscenario” misses the point that needles are already available to prisoners. He/she is just more likely to trade for the needle available. Of course if there was a way to keep these things out of the jail we wouldn’t be having this constructive discussion about drugs. Makes you wonder.

Mental Health Worker said :

Watson said :

Mental Health Worker said :

With easy access to needles, they’re now more likely to inject it. Research from other prison-based NSPs doesn’t support this view, but that may be a failing of the research to adequately measure reality. It’s common sense.

That’s not called common sense. It is making assumptions based on absolutely nothing. Which is rather dangerous if the consequence of the assumption being wrong is that someone might contract a serious illness which could’ve been prevented.

Let’s call it anecdotal evidence, evidence gathered from direct observation by reliable sources. When research fails to represent experience on the ground there are two possibilities – the research has failed to accurately describe reality, or the workers on the ground are observing events which are averaged out by actions they do not see, or are not aware of.

Both possibilities can easily occur. Research can easily fail, due to poor design. People’s’ observations can easily but unintentionally be biased.

As an example, note the oft-stated claim that there have been no reported incidents of syringes&needles being used as weapons in prisons where a NSP operates. Emphasise the word “reported” and it’s easy to see how they could have been used as weapons but this failed to show up in the research. A prisoenr threatened or robbed with a needle may nt report to authorities. Possibly even the researchers did not ask the question, so no-one reported it to them.

Those dismissing “common sense” may wish to consider this scenario – a prisoner is prescribed opiates for pain. S/he swallows them as required. Tomorrow he has access to a needle and syringe. He now has the option to not swallow, or to regurgitate, and inject them, for much greater effect. S/he is now more likely to inject. Maybe only 0.01% more likely,but still more likely than he was the day before. Same goes for any illegal drugs he occasionally manages to come across – in the absence of a needle he will ingest or smoke. Maybe he’ll save it for a day when he has a needle, and hope it doesn’t get found by officers. Given easy access to a needle, he will inject sooner, and therefore likely more frequently.

MHW

Mental Health Worker 6:59 am 02 Aug 11

Watson said :

Mental Health Worker said :

With easy access to needles, they’re now more likely to inject it. Research from other prison-based NSPs doesn’t support this view, but that may be a failing of the research to adequately measure reality. It’s common sense.

That’s not called common sense. It is making assumptions based on absolutely nothing. Which is rather dangerous if the consequence of the assumption being wrong is that someone might contract a serious illness which could’ve been prevented.

Let’s call it anecdotal evidence, evidence gathered from direct observation by reliable sources. When research fails to represent experience on the ground there are two possibilities – the research has failed to accurately describe reality, or the workers on the ground are observing events which are averaged out by actions they do not see, or are not aware of.

Both possibilities can easily occur. Research can easily fail, due to poor design. People’s’ observations can easily but unintentionally be biased.

As an example, note the oft-stated claim that there have been no reported incidents of syringes&needles being used as weapons in prisons where a NSP operates. Emphasise the word “reported” and it’s easy to see how they could have been used as weapons but this failed to show up in the research. A prisoenr threatened or robbed with a needle may nt report to authorities. Possibly even the researchers did not ask the question, so no-one reported it to them.

Those dismissing “common sense” may wish to consider this scenario – a prisoner is prescribed opiates for pain. S/he swallows them as required. Tomorrow he has access to a needle and syringe. He now has the option to not swallow, or to regurgitate, and inject them, for much greater effect. S/he is now more likely to inject. Maybe only 0.01% more likely,but still more likely than he was the day before. Same goes for any illegal drugs he occasionally manages to come across – in the absence of a needle he will ingest or smoke. Maybe he’ll save it for a day when he has a needle, and hope it doesn’t get found by officers. Given easy access to a needle, he will inject sooner, and therefore likely more frequently.

MHW

cleo 1:35 am 02 Aug 11

Maybe it would be a good idea to supply needles, as the prisoners would be recognised and put into a detox and rehabilitation programme, that is the only reason I would agree with the needle programme

Violet68 9:53 pm 31 Jul 11

[Why do the pro-needle supporters want drug-fuc*ed idiots on both sides of the fence? Those that ‘care’ should volunteer to adopt a poor possum who has been convicted of a violent drug-related crime to rehabilitate them in their own home in their family environment. (Waiting for the NIMBY’s to post).

The idea of billeting a criminal has been suggested previously in the post and hence it has already been pointed out by more logical people that the suggestion is absurd and does not in any way relate to the debate about providing clean needles to prisoners.

Hang on. It might be a solution to the problem. Anyone who is sentenced for a *health issue* can be billeted out to a nice home where nice people live and nothing bad ever happens. The bad person can be assigned chain gang type activities, have no right to property, safety or privacy and god forbid any health care……(those privileges are only for nice people). The bad people will instantly become good people. Won’t that be just dandy!

Watson 8:48 pm 31 Jul 11

Silentforce said :

This aint the 50’s, 60’s or even 70’s where anyone can claim ignorance that smoking, consuming illicit drugs, unsafe sex and sharing needles is at best unsafe and at worst, fatal. Since the the ‘Grim Reaper’ ads first appeared, anyone born since then has been subjected to the warnings and is knowledgeable of the risks of such destructive behaviours.

Their choice to do drugs, their choice to commit crime. Go to jail- tough titties.

Why do the pro-needle supporters want drug-fuc*ed idiots on both sides of the fence? Those that ‘care’ should volunteer to adopt a poor possum who has been convicted of a violent drug-related crime to rehabilitate them in their own home in their family environment. (Waiting for the NIMBY’s to post).

Err… maybe because transferable diseases are – wait, what’s the word – transferable? It’s not the kind of thing that you want to introduce or encourage in a population.

And also, no matter what I might think of people ending up in jail I do not wish HepC or HIV on anyone. They have access to clean needles on the outside, if you knowingly deny them access to clean needles on the inside, it’s as if you agree that forcing them to share dirty needles should be part of their sentence. And I always thought that double punishment was wrong and illegal.

The idea of billeting a criminal has been suggested previously in the post and hence it has already been pointed out by more logical people that the suggestion is absurd and does not in any way relate to the debate about providing clean needles to prisoners.

Silentforce 7:44 pm 31 Jul 11

This aint the 50’s, 60’s or even 70’s where anyone can claim ignorance that smoking, consuming illicit drugs, unsafe sex and sharing needles is at best unsafe and at worst, fatal. Since the the ‘Grim Reaper’ ads first appeared, anyone born since then has been subjected to the warnings and is knowledgeable of the risks of such destructive behaviours.

Their choice to do drugs, their choice to commit crime. Go to jail- tough titties.

Why do the pro-needle supporters want drug-fuc*ed idiots on both sides of the fence? Those that ‘care’ should volunteer to adopt a poor possum who has been convicted of a violent drug-related crime to rehabilitate them in their own home in their family environment. (Waiting for the NIMBY’s to post).

Jethro 7:33 pm 31 Jul 11

Is the syringe in the photo the same one that Mulberry’s kid was given at school?

fgzk 6:22 pm 31 Jul 11

Watson said :

Mental Health Worker said :

With easy access to needles, they’re now more likely to inject it. Research from other prison-based NSPs doesn’t support this view, but that may be a failing of the research to adequately measure reality. It’s common sense.

That’s not called common sense. It is making assumptions based on absolutely nothing. Which is rather dangerous if the consequence of the assumption being wrong is that someone might contract a serious illness which could’ve been prevented.

We are talking about injecting drug users here. I don’t think common sense actually applies. But as Watson pointed out you may be making an assumption. Reality is injecting drug users, inject. They will wait till they have a clean needle or they will find an old one. They wont snort, swallow or smoke. Not the ones I know. That would be a waste.

Watson 5:09 pm 31 Jul 11

Mental Health Worker said :

With easy access to needles, they’re now more likely to inject it. Research from other prison-based NSPs doesn’t support this view, but that may be a failing of the research to adequately measure reality. It’s common sense.

That’s not called common sense. It is making assumptions based on absolutely nothing. Which is rather dangerous if the consequence of the assumption being wrong is that someone might contract a serious illness which could’ve been prevented.

Mental Health Worker 10:44 am 31 Jul 11

Some interesting rants here. Here are a few more points to debate (logs on the fire…):

if 65% of prisoners are already Hep C positive, what are the chances of any more actually contracting it in prison? The other 35% probably aren’t injecting drug users on the outside, so unless they take it up in prison (and some may do so), they aren’t at risk of contracting it. (Bear in mind that not all prisoners are burglars and armed robbers with an injecting drug habit – there’s a significant smattering of child sex offenders, drink drivers, murderers, many of whom do not come from the injecting drug use demographic). Yes, some of the 65% may contract other strains of Hep C, or other strains of Hepatitis, but there’s a point at which we can’t protect everyone from their own poor decision making.

Provision of needles may not increase drug use in prison, but will increase INJECTING drug use. In the absence of a needle, a prisoner won’t necessarily stash the drugs for when one becomes available – they’ll injest, snort or smoke it. With easy access to needles, they’re now more likely to inject it. Research from other prison-based NSPs doesn’t support this view, but that may be a failing of the research to adequately measure reality. It’s common sense.

Heroin and other opiates are not the only drugs prisoners do and will inject. In fact, some will inject ANYTHING. Some of the drugs they will now be more easily able to inject, aren’t things you want them injecting, because they won’t be all mellow and happy afterwards – and I’m thinking Ice/Amphetamine, and Cocaine. Bad enough smoked or snorted, but really bad injected. Good luck to the staff in the proposed injecting room, because it’s going to be a pretty dangerous work environment.

MHW

fgzk 4:00 pm 30 Jul 11

Willy_Bear ..

“Does that mean they contracted it prior to entering the prison ?”
Yes except for possibly one case.

“Is there some reason they are not using the service outside? ”
They would be using the service on the outside. Some are high risky people with chaotic time and resource management. They may have already contracted it in another jail community. Gear…two people….one clean needle…. Maybe they moved to the Northern Territory for a while. So many reasons but only one dirty needle.

“I noted a submission indicating the prisoners to be “overwhelminly opposed” to the program, are these linked ?”
No they are not linked in my mind. Should it matter what the prisoners think?

Wily_Bear 2:57 pm 30 Jul 11

fgzk said :

Wily_Bear said :

Having just read Mr Moores report, it is concerning to hear him quote a a figure of 65% of ACT intravenous drug users carry Hep C. if a syringe program has not mitigated this health issue on the outside, what is going wrong ?

I believe you are going wrong. The syringe program is working. I believe the 67% is referring to prisoner not the wider community. Clean injecting equipment helps mitigate the spread of viruses.

Ok, my bad- must have misread it. Does that mean they contracted it prior to entering the prison ? Is there some reason theyare not using the service outside? I noted a submission indicating the prisoners to be “overwhelminly opposed” to the program, are these linked ?
I am neither opposed nor in favour of having this in the prison- (I don’t know enough about it), I’m genuinely interested in finding out the answers

fgzk 2:51 pm 30 Jul 11

dazzab said :

The prisoners don’t want it, the guards don’t want it and it’s an illegal activity. All arguments aside, I just can’t even comprehend why this topic comes up over and over again.

No need to comprehend this topic as JB assures us……

johnboy said :

Most people aren’t reading this thread any more.

Whilst people are not reading you can bang your head in your ass over and over again. All arguments aside. No one read that, so it didn’t happen and it wont be a problem requiring stitches and a rubber ring.

The guards need to be paid more to bend over and submit to the glove of security. The prisoners need to address the impact drug use is having on themselves and the wider community. Neither want to do it. No-one wants to pay for it.

Ass, over and over and over again?

Violet68 12:38 pm 30 Jul 11

dazzab said :

The prisoners don’t want it, the guards don’t want it and it’s an illegal activity. All arguments aside, I just can’t even comprehend why this topic comes up over and over again.

I wonder how many prisoners openly admitted the need for condoms within prison environments – yet they are provided.

shadow boxer 12:27 pm 30 Jul 11

G-Fresh said :

Test inmates for narcotics and deny Parole for inmates found to be using drugs.

wow a little island of sanity and everyone missed it, as well as denying parole you could charge them with, I don’t know, possession of narcotics.

dazzab 12:20 pm 30 Jul 11

The prisoners don’t want it, the guards don’t want it and it’s an illegal activity. All arguments aside, I just can’t even comprehend why this topic comes up over and over again.

7

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