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At the frontier of drug harm reduction Prisoners’ rights to health & safety. Presentation to the Australian Parliamentary Group for Drug Law Reform Parliament House, Canberra, 2 Dec 2005. David McDonald
Presentation to the Australian Parliamentary Group for Drug Law ReformParliament House, Canberra, 2 Dec 2005
Visiting FellowNational Centre for Epidemiology and Population HealthThe Australian National University
Consultant in social research & evaluation
Nelson Mandela (1994)‘…no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones…’
Paterson’s dictum (1920s)‘[Offenders] are sent to prison as a punishment, not for punishment’
Prevalence of drug use in prison (NSW 2001 & 2004)
NSW prison inmates, 2001
'It is in the context of preventive health care and, more broadly, provision of a safe environment that Australian prisons most profoundly fail prisoners, their families and the community as a whole.
‘The failure to respond appropriately to substance abuse, communicable diseases and risks of self-harm and death in custody puts the entire community at risk.’(Levy 2002)
WHO Policy Brief: Reduction of HIV Transmission in Prison, 2004‘The evidence shows that [prison harm reduction] programmes should include all the measures against HIV transmission which are carried out in the community outside prisons, including - HIV/AIDS education- testing and counselling performed on a voluntary basis- the distribution of clean needles, syringes and condoms, and- drug-dependence treatment, including substitution treatment.
‘All these interventions have proved effective in reducing the risk of HIV transmission in prisons.
‘They have also been shown to have no unintended negative consequences.’
‘Prison systems and governments can no longer avoid their responsibilities to provide for the health of prisoners by dismissing prison needle-exchange programmes as something new or untested. ‘They are neither.’ (Lines 2005)
Slide 1: The subtitle of this presentation is from Levy, M 2002, ‘Prisoners' right to health and safety’, in D Brown & M Wilkie (eds), Prisoners as citizens: human rights in Australian prisons, Federation Press, Annandale, N.S.W., pp. 240-56.
Slide 2: Mandela, N 1994, Long walk to freedom: the autobiography of Nelson Mandela, Little Brown, Boston, p. 201; Morgan, R 1994, ‘Imprisonment’, in M Maguire, R Morgan & R Reiner (eds), The Oxford handbook of criminology, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 889-948.
Slide 3 & 7: Levy 2002, op. cit.
Slides 5 & 6: Butler, T & Milner, L 2003, The 2001 New South Wales Inmate Health Survey, Corrections Health Service, Sydney; Butler, T, Boonwaat, L & Hailstone, S 2005, National prison entrants' bloodborne virus survey report, 2004, CHRCJ Research Report No. 1, Centre for Health Research in Criminal Justice & National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, University of New South Wales, Sydney.
Slide 8: World Health Organization 2004, Policy Brief: reduction of HIV transmission in prison, Geneva.
Slide 9: McDonald, D 2005, The proposed needle syringe program at the Alexander Maconochie Centre, Canberra's new prison; an information paper on the evidence underlying the proposal, DirectionsACT, Canberra, online at http://www.socialresearch.com.au/uploads/Prison_NSP_DMcD_upload.pdf
Slide 10: Lines, R, Jürgens, R, Betteridge, G & Stöver, H 2005, ‘Taking action to reduce injecting drug-related harms in prisons: the evidence of effectiveness of prison needle exchange in six countries’, International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 1, no. 1, p. 61.
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