Under the Skin: A People’s Case for Prison Needle and Syringe Programs

Under the Skin: A People's Case for Prison Needle and Syringe Programs
What do people in prison have to say about the Canadian government’s unwillingness to permit the distribution of clean needles in prison?

Between 2008 and 2009, interviews were conducted in person and over the phone in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, resulting in sworn affidavits or testimonials from 50 individuals who have used drugs or shared needles in a federal prison. The hope is that their stories will strengthen the case for change, which governments continue to ignore even as a growing body of evidence highlights the need.

The Legal Network is not alone in calling on the federal government to implement needle and syringe programs in Canada’s prison. Our position is supported by the Canadian Medical Association, the Ontario Medical Associations, the World Health Organization, UNAIDS, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, the Correctional Investigator of Canada and the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Furthermore, a 2006 review of the scientific evidence by the Public Health Agency of Canada concluded that prison-based needle and syringe programs have largely positive outcomes for the health of people in prison.