Regarding Rights

Academic and activist perspectives on human rights


Leave a comment

A human rights assessment of the proposed needle and syringe exchange program in Canberra’s prison

By Anita Mackay

Monash University

Original photo by Todd Huffman at flikr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/99287245@N00/2344377068

Original photo by Todd Huffman at flikr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/99287245@N00/2344377068

The ACT government has announced the introduction of a needle and syringe exchange program for the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC) as a method for reducing the spread of blood-borne viruses.  This is a contentious proposal that faces a degree of opposition, including from prison officers and nurses.  If it goes ahead, the ACT would become the first jurisdiction in Australia to have such a program in a prison.  This post considers some of the arguments in favour of, and against, the proposal from a human rights perspective.  It concludes that a needle and syringe exchange program, if implemented in a manner that is informed by overseas experience, would be consistent with the human rights of both prisoners and prison officers. 

Continue reading