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JSS BANNER 1. PRISON IS NOT A HEALTHY PLACE. ANEX HARM REDUCTION CONFERENCE 2004 PETER NORDEN, S.J. POLICY DIRECTOR JESUIT SOCIAL SERVICES. CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM.

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Prison is not a healthy place
PRISON IS NOT A HEALTHY PLACE

ANEX HARM REDUCTION

CONFERENCE 2004

PETER NORDEN, S.J.

POLICY DIRECTOR

JESUIT SOCIAL SERVICES


Criminal justice system
CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM IS BEING USED AS AN INSTRUMENT OF SOCIAL CONTROL BY THE STATE, AND THE VICTIMS ARE THE POOR, THE HOMELESS, THE LONG-TERM UNEMPLOYED, THE MENTALLY ILL, AND THOSE WHO SELF-MEDICATE TO EASE THE PAIN.


Hepatitis c virus among inmates in victorian correctional facilities
HEPATITIS C VIRUS AMONG INMATES IN VICTORIAN CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES

  • THE LATEST SURVEY OF VICTORIAN PRISONERS, COMPLETED IN SEPTEMBER 2002, DISCOVERED THAT:

    • 57.5% OF THOSE SURVEYED (362 OF 642) HAD CONTRACTED HCV.

    • 68.6% OF THE PRISONERS SURVEYED REPORTED HAVING INJECTED DRUGS, OF WHICH 79.1% WERE HCV POSITIVE.

    • 74.9% OF PRISONERS WHO HAD EVER INJECTED DRUGS REPORTED INJECTING DRUGS WHILE IN PRISON.


Prisons the new asylums
PRISONS: THE NEW ASYLUMS

  • IN THE DECADE FROM 1990 TO THE YEAR 2000, THERE WAS A 32% INCREASE IN THE RATE OF IMPRISONMENT.

  • THIS REPRESENTED AN INCREASE OF 52% IN THE TOTAL PRISON POPULATION.

  • OUR RESEARCH LAST YEAR, FOUND THAT IN THE LAST DECADE IN VICTORIA, THERE HAD BEEN A 138% INCREASE ON PRISON EXPENDITURE, THE EQUIVALENT INCREASE FOR THE STATE’S MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES WAS ONLY 88%.

  • NATIONALLY, THE RECURRENT EXPENDITURE ON CORRECTIVE SERVICES TOTALLED $1.5 BILLION FOR 2000-01, WITH $1.3 BILLION BEING SPENT ON THE OPERATION OF THE COUNTRY’S 96 PRISONS.


Victorian prisoner health study
VICTORIAN PRISONER HEALTH STUDY

  • 36% OF THE PRISONERS WHO WERE SURVEYED HAD BEEN TOLD THAT THEY HAD A MENTAL ILLNESS.

  • 15% OF THE PRISONERS QUESTIONED REPORTED THAT THEY WERE CURRENTLY RECEIVING MEDICATION.


Victorian prisoner health study cont d
VICTORIAN PRISONER HEALTH STUDY – CONT’D

  • ALMOST 27% OF THE PRISON POPULATION MET THE CUT-OFF SCORE FOR ‘PSYCHIATRIC DISTURBANCE AS A RESULT OF ‘DEPRESSION’ ON THE REFERRAL DECISION SCALE.

  • MORE THAN 15% OF PRISONERS HAD BEEN ADMITTED TO HOSPITAL FOR THIS PROBLEM.

  • MORE THAN 30% OF THE PRISONERS QUESTIONED HAD ATTEMPTED SUICIDE.


Geographical concentration of prison population
GEOGRAPHICAL CONCENTRATION OF PRISON POPULATION

IN VICTORIA, 25% OF THE CURRENT PRISON POPULATION CAME FROM JUST 2.1% OF THE 647 POSTCODES IN THIS STATE, AND HALF OF THE PRISON POPULATION CAME FROM JUST 7.3% OF POSTCODES.


Conclusion
CONCLUSION

THE PRISONS ARE BEING ASKED TO DEAL WITH SUBSTANTIAL GENERAL HEALTH AND MENTAL HEALTH NEEDS OF THE WIDER SOCIETY AND IS BEING FORCED TO EXTEND ITS RESPONSIBILITIES IN RESPONDING TO SERIOUS CRIMINAL OFFENCES.



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