Prison tattoo and needle programs would help curb hepatitis: internal memo - InfoNews

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Prison tattoo and needle programs would help curb hepatitis: internal memo

A tattoo artist works on a client in in Kenai, Alaska in a March 14, 2105 file photo. Setting up tattoo parlours and needle-exchange programs in federal prisons would help reduce hepatitis C rates, the Correctional Service tells Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Peninsula Clarion, Kelly Sullivan
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Peninsula Clarion, Kelly Sullivan
February 20, 2018 - 7:00 AM

OTTAWA - The federal prison service says setting up tattoo parlours and needle-exchange programs behind bars would help reduce the spread of hepatitis C.

A Correctional Service memo obtained under the Access to Information Act advises Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale the proposals "warrant consideration" to round out existing and planned measures to fight hepatitis and HIV in prison.

Prison tattooing and needle-exchange programs for drug users have generated intense controversy over the years and the memo urges the minister to conduct detailed research before embarking on a syringe needle program in particular.

Corrections ombudsman Ivan Zinger recently called on the Correctional Service to bring back its safe tattooing program.

He says tattooing in prison frequently involves sharing and reusing dirty homemade equipment — linked to higher rates of hepatitis C and HIV among inmates — and there is often no safe means of disposing of used tattoo needles.

In 2005, the prison service began a pilot program involving tattoo rooms in six federal institutions, but two years later, the then-Conservative government ended it.

— Follow @JimBronskill on Twitter

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2018
InfoTel News Ltd

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