Needle Exchange Programs aim to reduce the risk of HIV and Hepatitis transmissions by increasing access to sterile needles and syringes as well as removing dirty needles from circulation. (Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press)
Four AIDS prevention organizations and a former inmate are suing the federal government for failing to provide needle exchange programs in Canadian prisons, claiming that the government is violating inmates' Charter Rights.
The lawsuit seeks a supervisory injunction, a rare order that would compel the government to set up such a program, and argues that incarcerated drug users are at a far greater risk than those outside the prison system.
Studies have shown that HIV and hepatitis C rates are 10 to 30 times higher in Canadian prisons than elsewhere in the country - especially among women and aboriginal inmates.
Program advocates argue that prison health is public health, as most prisoners will eventually re-enter the community and may increase infection rates among non-inmates.
They also point out that other countries, like Britain and Iran, have already established similar programs, and that the Canadian government already provides other disease-preventing tools, like condoms and bleach kits for cleaning needles.
So far, the government has not responded to the recently filed suit - but precedents indicate they will defend their strict stance.
Officials have refused previous campaigns to set up needle exchange programs, citing a zero tolerance policy on drugs in prison, and have pointed to their investments in keeping drugs out of prisons in the first place.
Do you find the plaintiffs' arguments compelling? Why or why not? How should the risk of HIV and hepatitis transmissions be reduced in the context of prison?
(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' replies)
Meet the Community Team
CBC News Community team, from left to right: Andrew Yates, Andrea Lee-Greenberg, Lauren O'Neil, John Bowman
If you're part of the CBC News community, you're likely to meet one of us: we're the folks working to produce and promote your stories. Read more about us.
Other Your Community Entries
- 2012 (1826)
- Romney's comments on airplane windows mocked
- CBC readers react to Kenney's email about LGBT refugees
- Should Canada's prisons have needle exchange programs?
- Anti-trolling lessons set for schools in Australia
- Beard and Moustache Championships brings hundreds of competitors to France
- Safety laser creates virtual bike lanes for cyclists
- September Photo Contest: Black & White
- Reaction to story on whether home ownership should be encouraged
- Should Canada and the U.K. share embassies abroad?
- Music fans remember Sam the Record Man
- VIDEO: The CBC Community Weekly Webcast, August 31
- August photo contest: the winner!
- Twitter alerts USGS to Philippines quake
- Interrupting squirrel halts U.S. Open match
- Remembering Diana 15 years later
- Reaction to the long-gun swap
- Does the skinny makeover of Disney characters go too far?
- Clint Eastwood's bizarre speech to empty chair spurs Twitter jokes
- Rare 'Blue Moon' to appear Friday : Send us your photos
- First Internet Cat Video film festival debuts at prestigious American art center
- July photo contest: the winner!
- Twitter apologizes for @GuyAdams 'mess-up'
- Human immortality could be possible by 2045, say Russian scientists
- Internet pranksters send rapper Pitbull to Alaska
- Would you make realtors compete for your property listing?
- Reaction to report on smartphone overtime
- What do you think of Ye Shiwen's record swim?
- CBC's Eli Glasner on reviewing films, reading other critics
- Teen arrested for 'malicious' tweets to British diver
- Do you support Christy Clark's stance on the national energy strategy?
- iPhone's 5th birthday prompts loving tributes
- Show us your colours through photos of gay pride
- PETA slams Olsen twins as 'Hairy Kate' and 'Trashley'
- June in Tune photo contest: The winner!
- Should we learn to love the unibrow?
- Is the loonie as important a symbol of Canada as the maple leaf?
- CBC readers dish on 'Canadian food' and Maple Syrup
- Are you financially prepared to live past 100?
- Should alcohol flow freely across Canada?
- Will you wait for BlackBerry 10?
- Do you avoid disturbing news coverage?
- Would you grow your own shoes from 'genetically manipulated stingrays'?
- Dozens of Justin Bieber fans injured in Norway
- I [Heart] NY logo revamp? Fuggedaboutit!
- Musical grill blasts beats through your teeth
- Reaction to Canada's 'unique strain of Dutch Disease'
- New York sugary drink ban bubbles over on Twitter
- Mountain Dew + Orange Juice = Taco Bell's new breakfast drink
- Dr. Ruth to launch low-alcohol line of wines
- Reaction to census data on seniors and toddlers
- Should government seek clemency for Canadians on death row?
- Ugly Meter app worries cyber bullying activists
- And the winner of our April showers photo contest is...
- What would you add to Avery Canahuati's bucket list?
- Who is Titanic II backer Clive Palmer?
- Trending April 30: Titanic II, Conrad Black
- Should Conrad Black regain his Canadian citizenship?
- CBC's David McKie on investigative reporting
- Should rooftop missiles be installed for London Olympics security?
- Obama and Kimmel high-five at White House Correspondents' Dinner
- March photo contest: the winner!
- Shatner-hosted 2012 Juno Awards inspire fanfare
- 10 readers share their Katimavik stories
- Katimavik defended 26 years after Hébert hunger strike
- Earth Hour, Mega Millions, angry 'Beliebers' in morning trends
- Maple syrup hoarders prepare for shortage
- Top 5 at 5: CBC North
- Would bigger tax exemptions encourage you to shop across the border?
- What were your happiest years?
- Should charities lose their status for protesting?
- Community reaction to the Pierre Poutine revelations
- Top 5 at 5: Business stories
- Lady Gaga and Oprah Winfrey launch anti-bullying foundation
- Davy Jones honoured by fans on social media
- February photo contest: the winner!
- Women take the leap and propose marriage on Feb. 29
- Community reaction to closing of high Arctic lab
- Would you freeze-dry a deceased pet?
- U.S. storm watchers swap stories on social media
- Should Canada create an asbestos registry?
- January photo contest: the winner
- Top 5 at 5: Montreal stories
- Should Peru's uncontacted tribes be left alone?
- Is Ashton Kutcher right to block journalists from his Twitter feed?
- Would you wear Dress Pant Sweatpants in your workplace?
- Where do you donate your used clothing?
- Could a UN resolution help end Syria's unrest?
- Top 5 at 5: Politics stories
- Do you trust a camel that predicts Super Bowl winners?
- Community reaction to the Shafia trial verdict
- September (110)