Needle-exchange program in prisons - A very dangerous precedent, according to correctional officers

Monday, May 14, 2018 General News
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OTTAWA, May 14, 2018 /CNW Telbec/ - The Union of Canadian Correctional Officers (UCCO-SACC-CSN) is very concerned about the

announcement made today regarding the implementation of a Prison Needle Exchange Program (PNEP) in two institutions, one being in New Brunswick and the other one in Ontario. Proposed by
Correctional Service Canada (CSC) to the Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale last February, this pilot project will be enforced in the coming weeks, without additional safety measures or additional training for correctional officers.

"This program represents a dangerous turning point. Correctional Service Canada has decided to close its eyes to drug trafficking in our institutions. It has chosen to encourage criminal activity inside the walls instead of investing in the care and treatment of inmates who are drug addicts or carriers of infectious disease," states UCCO-SACC-CSN National President Jason Godin. The union notes a needle-exchange program in institutions totally contradicts the mission of Correctional Service Canada to contribute to public safety by actively encouraging and assisting offenders to become law-abiding citizens. "We are also wondering what's happening with  CSC's zero-tolerance policy on drugs?"

According to what the union has learned, after an evaluation, inmates who consume intravenous drugs will be able to obtain needles and keep them in their cell. "In addition to the danger that the circulation of needles poses to staff and the entire prison population, the whole concept of Threat and Risk Assessment (TRA) must be reviewed. What will correctional officers be called upon to do when an inmate is about to inject themselves with a needle provided by CSC? Watch them do it or enter the cell to prevent it from happening?" adds Mr. Godin.

With a wave of overdoses, largely due to the fentanyl crisis, along with a lack of 24/7 medical resources in prisons, UCCO-SACC-CSN believes the establishment of this program poses a real threat for correctional officers and will put the lives of many inmates at risk. "We firmly believe that the role of the correctional system is to reduce the supply and use of drugs in institutions. This is no small feat, but we will not give up. Additional resources are needed to achieve this," concludes Jason Godin.

About the union

The Union of Canadian Correctional Officers (UCCO-SACC-CSN) represents more than 7400 members, across Canada's five major regions: Pacific, Prairies, Ontario, Québec and Atlantic. UCCO-SACC-CSN represents Correctional Officers in 49 federal institutions.

 

SOURCE CSN



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