Clean needles in prisons called ‘essential health care’ in court challenge

Clean needles in prisons called 'essential health care' in court challenge

TORONTO — An Ontario court is hearing that prisoner access to sterile syringes is essential health care.

In addition, advocates say provision of that health care should be separate from prison security.

The case involves a constitutional challenge by drug-using inmates to a ban on needle-exchange programs in prisons.

The applicants say the lack of access to clean needles poses a personal and public health risk.

The government argues syringes pose a security threat that must be properly managed.

It also says it has begun rolling out a needle-exchange program at prisons across the country.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on March 6, 2020.

The Canadian Press

The Canadian PressThe Canadian Press

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