Pubdate: Thu, 04 Feb 2010
Source: Winnipeg Sun (CN MB)
Copyright: 2010 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Tom Brodbeck


Call For Clean Syringes In Prison As 'Right' Is Absurd

A new report on the evils of dirty needles among drug users in
Canadian prisons says taxpayers should provide inmates with clean
syringes because it's their human right to have access to them.

The report is called Under the Skin and was penned by the Canadian
HIV/AIDS Legal Network.

It offers no solutions on how to turn off the pipeline of drugs into
federal penitentiaries and provides no advice on how to more
effectively treat drug addicts behind prison walls.

Instead, it says it's an inmate's "human right" to have clean syringes
to inject illicit drugs and that forcing them to use dirty needles is
a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

"Not only does this harm the health of people in prison and public
health more broadly, but it is also a violation of the human rights of
people in prison," the report says. "Everyone is entitled to human
rights, and people do not surrender those rights when they enter prison."

Good lord.

So now it's a human right to do drugs in prison and a charter
violation to deprive drug addicts of clean syringes?

Give me a break.

The report includes the testimonies of 50 inmates who say drug use is
rampant in federal prisons and that shooting up is a regular activity
behind prison walls.

Well, isn't that the problem? The fact we still have prisons where
Corrections officials are unable - or unwilling - to stop the pipeline
of drugs flowing into their facilities?

One of the main drivers behind crime is drug addiction, yet we
continue to allow prisons to operate as shooting galleries.

Why no recommendations in the report on how to solve that problem and
eradicate drugs from prisons?

If there's a drug problem in federal prisons, we shouldn't be talking
about how to make drug use safer. We should be talking about how to
make drug use non-existent.

Prisons are supposed to be highly controlled environments.

We're not talking about trying to eradicate drug use on the street.
We're talking about enforcing a zero-tolerance policy in what should
be a very controlled setting. Prisons should be giant rehab centres,
not drug dens.

Granted, the debate over trying to make prisons drug free is an old
one. We hear government after government pledging to "crack down on
drugs in prison" but it's usually more rhetoric than policy substance.

And by all accounts, drug use remains rampant in federal

There are countless stories - some confirmed, others not - on how
drugs get into prisons. Contraband are tossed over barbed-wired fences
in tennis balls, dead birds and other seemingly benign objects.
Seriously, how hard could it be to stop that from happening? Some
netting? A 100-metre no-standing zone outside prison walls?

We hear stories about spotty security checks on family members
entering prisons who bring drugs into the facility, including planting
them on children. We even hear about prison staff being part of the
supply chain.

Yet, despite government rhetoric, very little is ever done about

Instead, we get reports like this one that recommend we throw our
hands in the air, accept drugs are part of prison life and give them
all clean syringes.

Next they'll recommend we buy them the drugs, too.

What a joke. 
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