Correctional Service Canada announces a Prison Needle Exchange Program

Monday, May 14, 2018 General News
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OTTAWA, May 14, 2018 /CNW/ - Beginning in June 2018, Correctional Service Canada (CSC) will

implement a Prison Needle Exchange Program at one men's and one women's institution as the initial stage of a phased approach to strengthen its ongoing efforts to prevent and manage infectious disease in federal penitentiaries and in the community. The
best practices learned at these institutions will inform a full national roll-out.

CSC is engaging with bargaining agents and partners on the implementation of this initiative. A Prison Needle Exchange Program will give federal inmates access to clean needles in an effort to limit the transmission of infectious diseases, such as Hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS.    

CSC will use a model similar to the one currently used for Epipens and diabetic insulin in federal correctional institutions. These programs have proven to be safe and effective. Costs of the program will be absorbed within existing budgets.

The safety and security of staff, the public and inmates are of utmost importance when making decisions about CSC programs and policy.

Quotes

"In keeping with the Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy, the Government of Canada is committed to protecting the health and safety of all Canadians, including federal inmates, through continued access to harm reduction and evidence-based health services. We're focused on ensuring that correctional institutions are secure environments conducive to inmate rehabilitation, staff safety and the protection of the public."

The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

"Correctional Service Canada's Prison Needle Exchange Program is an initiative that will strengthen ongoing efforts to address infectious diseases in federal penitentiaries and in our communities."   

Anne Kelly, CSC Interim Commissioner

Quick facts

  • From 2007 to 2017, the prevalence of HIV in federal institutions declined from 2.02% to 1.2% while the prevalence of HCV declined from 31.6% to 7.8%.
  • HCV and HIV/AIDS are still far more prevalent among incarcerated populations than the general public.   
  • CSC promotes inmate knowledge and awareness of infectious disease transmission risks through ongoing health promotion, peer mentorships and health education programs.
  • Other CSC harm reduction initiatives include screening and testing federal inmates throughout incarceration, access to treatment for HIV/AIDS and HCV, and offering preventative measures, such as bleach and condoms.

Associated links

  • CSC Backgrounder: Prison Needle Exchange Program
  • Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy

 

SOURCE Correctional Services of Canada

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