Senior penitentiary officials say providing clean syringes to prisoners to stem infections would be too dangerous, reports Canadian Press. Former prisoner and advocacy groups have gone to court to argue the current policy of not providing needles in penitentiaries violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Drugs are routinely smuggled into Canadian penitentiaries and inmates often fashion makeshift needles to inject them. They also share the equipment thus risking the spread of infection.
Former prisoner infected
Former prisoner Steven Simons is asking the court to rule that prison policy violates constitutional guarantees to life, liberty and security of the person. He says he was infected with hepatitis C and exposed to HIV as a result of having no access to sterile needles while he was incarcerated and that another prisoner used his makeshift injectors.
In affidavits submitted to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, senior officials wrote that if needles were provided they could easily be turned into weapons.
From Canadian Press.