N.S. prison guards raise safety concerns about needle-exchange program for inmates
Published Monday, April 15, 2019 10:24PM ADT
Last Updated Monday, April 15, 2019 10:25PM ADT
A plan to give prison inmates who use injectable drugs access to clean needles in their cells has sent Nova Scotia correctional officers to their MP’s office in protest.
They marched outside the office of MP Bill Casey in Truro on Monday afternoon, upset over the needle-exchange program which was slated to start Monday morning.
They say it's a safety issue for officers at the maximum security Atlantic Institution.
“We’ve already seen problems there,” said Jeff Wilkins, the Atlantic regional president of the Union of Canadian Correctional officers.“We've already seen inmates sharing their needle that they’ve been given to other inmates, and it’s found in other inmates’ cells. So, when it comes to that, it absolutely is a risk for our members.”
Organizers say if there are needle programs in prisons, they want to see them operated by health-care workers -- not guards.
Union members will meet with Bill Casey next week to plead their case.