Needles in the prison up for public comment

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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137 Responses to Needles in the prison up for public comment
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fgzk fgzk 11:46 am 30 Jul 11

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.

Watson Watson 11:46 am 30 Jul 11

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 ?

But that doesn’t mean anything if
a) you don’t compare that figure to the figure before the syringe program was put in place
b) you don’t take into account how many of those drug users were using before the program existed

Wily_Bear Wily_Bear 11:20 am 30 Jul 11

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 ?

Violet68 Violet68 8:01 pm 29 Jul 11

Watson said :

johnboy said :

They all breathe oxygen too! Obviously breathing oxygen is what makes them criminals!!

I hear most of them wear shoes too. Watch out for people wearing shoes, they are known to get stabby at the drop of a hat!

Jim Jones said :

Increased security and detection have been tried again and again and have been proven not to be effective at preventing drug use in prison.

The idea that we should try again because it ‘it just might work this time’ is contrary to reason. (Setting this up as the same thing as “no-one’s contracted a disease from sharing needles in the short period of time that the prison has been in use yet” is quite clearly an analogy stretched well beyond breaking point.

The idea that we not having clean syringes in prison will prevent drug use in prison is laughable. There are drugs in prison, no amount of optimism or idealism will change that fact. What introducing clean syringes will do is prevent people from sharing dirty needles, which is an extremely dangerous practice.

The choice is very simple – harm minimisation, or business as usual. I don’t know about you, but given the choice between reducing the chances of harm or not, I’ll always go for the former … unless mimes are involved. F$%k mimes.

Hey that’s discrimination against mimes! I say F$%k clowns. Clowns consume a massive amount of oxygen (especially when riding stolen unicycles); they are always under the influence of fairy floss (The quality can be gauged by the redness of their nose) which causes them to have a total disregard for the rules of society. Don’t get me started on their shoes…….

Jim Jones Jim Jones 6:47 pm 29 Jul 11

Increased security and detection have been tried again and again and have been proven not to be effective at preventing drug use in prison.

The idea that we should try again because it ‘it just might work this time’ is contrary to reason. (Setting this up as the same thing as “no-one’s contracted a disease from sharing needles in the short period of time that the prison has been in use yet” is quite clearly an analogy stretched well beyond breaking point.

The idea that we not having clean syringes in prison will prevent drug use in prison is laughable. There are drugs in prison, no amount of optimism or idealism will change that fact. What introducing clean syringes will do is prevent people from sharing dirty needles, which is an extremely dangerous practice.

The choice is very simple – harm minimisation, or business as usual. I don’t know about you, but given the choice between reducing the chances of harm or not, I’ll always go for the former … unless mimes are involved. F$%k mimes.

fgzk fgzk 6:41 pm 29 Jul 11

Proboscus said :

Jim Jones said :

Proboscus said :

drug-crazed criminals

BWA AH AHAHA HA HAHAH A HAHA

You do realise you sound like the narrator from Reefer Madness when you write that stuff.

“Know your dope fiend. You will not be able to see his eyes because of tea shades, but his knuckles will be white from inner tension and his pants will be crusted with semen from constantly jacking off when he can’t find a rape victim.”

So a prisoner who has injected an amphetamine based drug won’t become “drug-crazed” or violent is your head is so far up your arse that you actually believe that drugs are cool??

You might be totally missing the point of taking drugs. Ive always found “drug crazed criminals” easy to deal with when they have good gear, with clean equipment and a safe place to mix it up. I think they respect the effort.

Jim you should be getting an allowance for that.

hax hax 6:39 pm 29 Jul 11

I like the part where we provide prisoners with a weapon.

They should install shank vending machines.

Watson Watson 5:34 pm 29 Jul 11

The_Bulldog said :

Been some time since it got this narky. Nice.

Anyways – how about one consider the value of the “just because it hasn’t happened yet” argument and apply it to implementing a zero tolerance policy? Just because zero tolerance (arguably) hasn’t been entirely effective in relation to drugs, why should we dismiss the principal outright? Stay with me, resist the urge to respond with “because it’s stupid” and read on…

I think the core principal *everyone* can agree on is that, in theory, jail *should* be a safe and harm free environment where people are given the opportunity to rehabilitate, whilst being restricted from living amongst the community. I agree that supplying clean syringes is one way to minimise harm in the area of blood borne disease, but I would argue that stronger screening and detection would equally minimise the likelihood of drugs being there in the first place – proportionately minimising the risk of blood borne disease. If my friends or members of my family were unfortunate (or stupid) enough to find themselves in the AMC, I know what I’d be hoping for – drug free and clean.

So – shouldn’t we at least trial increased security and detection before we go down the path of accepting drug use in jail as inevitable?

Jumping away from the policy and into the emotive responses this issue has prompted – I think we also need to understand that to supply clean needles is not to condone the use of ilicit substances. Just so – the people supportive of this measure aren’t necessarily condoning the use of drugs, merely the fact that they feel it’s inevitable, and we have a responsibility to try and gain a measure of control in a shitty situation. I can’t really fault the logic, I just think this view is pretty bleak. So, if it’s just the same to everyone I’ll continue to strive for what’s best, not what’s better.

But why would striving for a drug-free environment have to rule out the supply of clean syringes? If zero tolerance is going to work one day, surely you must accept that it won’t happen overnight and there is value in preventing transmittable diseases in the meantime?

As far as this statement goes: “If my friends or members of my family were unfortunate (or stupid) enough to find themselves in the AMC, I know what I’d be hoping for – drug free and clean.”:

If my drug-addicted relative would end up in AMC, I would be hoping that they would be getting the support they need to work towards a drug-free future. I do not believe that forcing an addict to go cold turkey does anything for them, except possibly increase the risk of them overdosing as soon as they get out. So if the best way to ensure said relative’s commitment to being drug-free one day would be to provide them with clean needles and/or drugs while they work on a strategy to achieve this, I’d be much happier with that than a “let them suffer and find illegal and risky ways to get their fix” way.

But I have been told by some that there is such a thing as having too much empathy. I still don’t believe it though.

Watson Watson 5:03 pm 29 Jul 11

johnboy said :

They all breathe oxygen too! Obviously breathing oxygen is what makes them criminals!!

I hear most of them wear shoes too. Watch out for people wearing shoes, they are known to get stabby at the drop of a hat!

The Frots The Frots 5:00 pm 29 Jul 11

The_Bulldog said :

Been some time since it got this narky. Nice.

Anyways – how about one consider the value of the “just because it hasn’t happened yet” argument and apply it to implementing a zero tolerance policy? Just because zero tolerance (arguably) hasn’t been entirely effective in relation to drugs, why should we dismiss the principal outright? Stay with me, resist the urge to respond with “because it’s stupid” and read on…

I think the core principal *everyone* can agree on is that, in theory, jail *should* be a safe and harm free environment where people are given the opportunity to rehabilitate, whilst being restricted from living amongst the community. I agree that supplying clean syringes is one way to minimise harm in the area of blood borne disease, but I would argue that stronger screening and detection would equally minimise the likelihood of drugs being there in the first place – proportionately minimising the risk of blood borne disease. If my friends or members of my family were unfortunate (or stupid) enough to find themselves in the AMC, I know what I’d be hoping for – drug free and clean.

So – shouldn’t we at least trial increased security and detection before we go down the path of accepting drug use in jail as inevitable?

Jumping away from the policy and into the emotive responses this issue has prompted – I think we also need to understand that to supply clean needles is not to condone the use of ilicit substances. Just so – the people supportive of this measure aren’t necessarily condoning the use of drugs, merely the fact that they feel it’s inevitable, and we have a responsibility to try and gain a measure of control in a shitty situation. I can’t really fault the logic, I just think this view is pretty bleak. So, if it’s just the same to everyone I’ll continue to strive for what’s best, not what’s better.

Good post and it makes sense.

Now, brace yourself for the inevitable………………………………….

Proboscus Proboscus 4:57 pm 29 Jul 11

Jim Jones said :

Proboscus said :

drug-crazed criminals

BWA AH AHAHA HA HAHAH A HAHA

You do realise you sound like the narrator from Reefer Madness when you write that stuff.

“Know your dope fiend. You will not be able to see his eyes because of tea shades, but his knuckles will be white from inner tension and his pants will be crusted with semen from constantly jacking off when he can’t find a rape victim.”

So a prisoner who has injected an amphetamine based drug won’t become “drug-crazed” or violent is your head is so far up your arse that you actually believe that drugs are cool??

The_Bulldog The_Bulldog 4:56 pm 29 Jul 11

Been some time since it got this narky. Nice.

Anyways – how about one consider the value of the “just because it hasn’t happened yet” argument and apply it to implementing a zero tolerance policy? Just because zero tolerance (arguably) hasn’t been entirely effective in relation to drugs, why should we dismiss the principal outright? Stay with me, resist the urge to respond with “because it’s stupid” and read on…

I think the core principal *everyone* can agree on is that, in theory, jail *should* be a safe and harm free environment where people are given the opportunity to rehabilitate, whilst being restricted from living amongst the community. I agree that supplying clean syringes is one way to minimise harm in the area of blood borne disease, but I would argue that stronger screening and detection would equally minimise the likelihood of drugs being there in the first place – proportionately minimising the risk of blood borne disease. If my friends or members of my family were unfortunate (or stupid) enough to find themselves in the AMC, I know what I’d be hoping for – drug free and clean.

So – shouldn’t we at least trial increased security and detection before we go down the path of accepting drug use in jail as inevitable?

Jumping away from the policy and into the emotive responses this issue has prompted – I think we also need to understand that to supply clean needles is not to condone the use of ilicit substances. Just so – the people supportive of this measure aren’t necessarily condoning the use of drugs, merely the fact that they feel it’s inevitable, and we have a responsibility to try and gain a measure of control in a shitty situation. I can’t really fault the logic, I just think this view is pretty bleak. So, if it’s just the same to everyone I’ll continue to strive for what’s best, not what’s better.

G-Fresh G-Fresh 4:26 pm 29 Jul 11

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

Jim Jones Jim Jones 4:15 pm 29 Jul 11

johnboy said :

They all breathe oxygen too! Obviously breathing oxygen is what makes them criminals!!

I also breath oxygen … so … I’m one of the world’s most dangerous criminals!!!

colourful sydney racing identity colourful sydney racing identity 4:08 pm 29 Jul 11

Tooks said :

Watson said :

Proboscus said :

johnboy said :

A safe place away from me for people who’ve already got drugs in my workplace to shoot up without spreading disease?

Yes please!

So Canberra’s most dangerous criminals are working with you?

People doing drugs are “Canberra’s most dangerous criminals’??? Wow.

Most of Canberra’s dangerous criminals (whatever that means) do use drugs.

there is a difference.

    johnboy johnboy 4:11 pm 29 Jul 11

    They all breathe oxygen too! Obviously breathing oxygen is what makes them criminals!!

Tooks Tooks 3:54 pm 29 Jul 11

Watson said :

Proboscus said :

johnboy said :

A safe place away from me for people who’ve already got drugs in my workplace to shoot up without spreading disease?

Yes please!

So Canberra’s most dangerous criminals are working with you?

People doing drugs are “Canberra’s most dangerous criminals’??? Wow.

Most of Canberra’s dangerous criminals (whatever that means) do use drugs.

qbngeek qbngeek 1:46 pm 29 Jul 11

Violet68 said :

As for threatening to jab me with a syringe, that might mean some jail time for you. Wouldn’t that be funny? I have a feeling there could be much scarier things to be *jabbed* by in there and you would be thanking your lucky stars for harm minimisation then 🙂

Maybe the jabbing he will get won’t come from a syringe 🙂

Violet68 Violet68 1:39 pm 29 Jul 11

My offer still stands, next time I pick up a syringe I’ll duck over and give you a little jab and see if your all good, you should be afterall blood born viruses can’t live outside the body for long but are YOU prepared to take the risk. Nicotine is toxic I agree, however to be fatal a child would need to injest 10MG the average cigarette contain 0.5mg of nicotine of which approximately 70% is burnt off during the smoking process leaving 0.15mg meaning that for a child to injest enough nicotine through cigarette butts they would have to eat approx 60 cigarette butts in one sitting. uneducated LMAO

Most of the nicotine is left in the filter/butt, but nevermind. According to you, the bodily fluids left in a syringe outdoors (rather than being shared) can be *lethal*. Saliva is a bodily fluid commonly found on cigarette butts so be careful next time you touch one…..you might get HIV!

As for threatening to jab me with a syringe, that might mean some jail time for you. Wouldn’t that be funny? I have a feeling there could be much scarier things to be *jabbed* by in there and you would be thanking your lucky stars for harm minimisation then 🙂

qbngeek qbngeek 1:32 pm 29 Jul 11

Jim Jones said :

Proboscus said :

The Hilton hasn’t had a single blood borne disease passed from prisoner to prisoner inside the facility

That’s right. It hasn’t happened before. So it couldn’t possibly happen in the future, could it?

(PS – let’s just ignore the fact that the place has only been open for a couple of years).

Everytime someone uses the ‘well it hasn’t happened yet’ argument I feel the urge to cry for the sake of humanity.

I haven’t had any accidental children so maybe I should stop taking preventative action and ditch the condoms? I haven’t been hit by a car yet so lets do away with the preventative action and stop looking left and right at pedestrian crossings?

The idea of preventative action is to prevent something that hasn’t happened. Why is that such a difficult concept for some people on this site.

Jim Jones Jim Jones 1:25 pm 29 Jul 11

The_TaxMan said :

Jim Jones said :

Cigarette butts and broken glass I see in parks every damn day, and go to great lengths to clean them up and prevent kids messing around with them.

Given this, how anyone could argue that syringes/needles are more dangerous beggars belief.

Ah Jim I am so sorry of course you are correct can’t chat any longer as I am off to rob a shop with a lethal cigarette.

Actually, now that I think of it, the most dangerous thing that you should watch out for in children’s parks are crocodiles strung out on meth and carrying loaded handguns – absolutely lethal.

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