An Ontario court will hear a constitutional challenge on Dec. 9, 2019 to the federal ban on needles for drug-using prisoners. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Federal govt’s refusal to provide clean needles in prison to be challenged today

TORONTO — An Ontario court is set to hear today a constitutional challenge to the federal ban on needles for drug-using prisoners.

The case, launched in 2012 by former prisoner Steven Simons, argues the current rules violate inmates’ rights and expose them to serious blood-borne diseases.

Several HIV/AIDS advocacy organizations are also involved in the challenge, saying the federal government must meet its legal obligation to protect the health of people in prison.

The government has argued in court filings that giving clean drug-injection needles to prisoners would make federal facilities more dangerous, since syringes could be used as weapons.

The Correctional Service last year launched a program that offers inmates in some facilities access to sterile equipment.

But court filings say the program is currently only available in a handful of Canada’s 43 federal prisons.

Applicants in the court challenge are also expected to argue that the program infringes on prisoners’ rights due to its lack of confidentiality.

A rally in support of harm reduction in prisons is also scheduled this morning outside the Toronto courthouse.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 9, 2019.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pandemic puts Canadian Finals Rodeo in doubt

When Jeff Robson thinks about the 47th edition of the Canadian Finals… Continue reading

Alberta confirms 29 new COVID-19 cases

Of the total 6,955 confirmed cases, 652 are active

Alberta house prices poised to plummet, says federal agency

Worst-case scenario could see house prices drop 20 per cent

Alberta Sports Hall of Fame awaits $300,000 in provincial funding

Tracey Kinsella has been on the job for less than a year,… Continue reading

More hospitals part of plasma transfusion trial to treat COVID-19 with antibodies

More hospitals part of plasma transfusion trial to treat COVID-19 with antibodies

Brazilians say ‘I do’ at drive-thru weddings to avoid virus

Brazilians say ‘I do’ at drive-thru weddings to avoid virus

Cases going down, but experts urge against visiting grandparents during pandemic

Cases going down, but experts urge against visiting grandparents during pandemic

One dead, four hurt in head-on crash on one-way street in Edmonton

One dead, four hurt in head-on crash on one-way street in Edmonton

NDP mocks Alberta premier’s UCP for taking COVID cash from ‘sugar daddy’ Trudeau

NDP mocks Alberta premier’s UCP for taking COVID cash from ‘sugar daddy’ Trudeau

Alberta introduces bill to change rules on charter schools, home-schooling

Alberta introduces bill to change rules on charter schools, home-schooling

Opposition parties call on Liberals to restore human-trafficking victims fund

Opposition parties call on Liberals to restore human-trafficking victims fund

‘Antigone’ wins five trophies, including best picture, at Canadian Screen Awards

‘Antigone’ wins five trophies, including best picture, at Canadian Screen Awards

Most Read