PROVISION OF CONDOMS & HEALTHCARE TO PEOPLE IN PRISONS
Dear Minister D’Ath and Minister Ryan,
Today is National Condom Day. We are writing to ask you to ensure that all people in prisons in Queensland have free access to condoms and dental dams, as well as testing and treatment for Hepatitis C (HCV), and free needle and syringe programs.
From what we understand, Queensland is at least a decade behind other states with regards to the provision of condoms in prisons. Providing this support to people in prisons would improve health outcomes, reduce healthcare costs associated with STIs or unwanted pregnancies, and help protect the health of the broader public. Researchers from the Kirby Institute have said that “Condoms should be made available to prisoners as a basic human right”.
We also reiterate calls for broader measures to eliminate HCV and other damaging blood-borne viruses, including free needle and syringe programs, access to Fincol and better resourcing for Opioid Substitution Therapy, as outlined in Michael Berkman’s letter on 31 October, 2022.
Prisons are often places where people become sick, and criminalised, in a system that focuses on punitive responses rather than support and rehabilitation. We urge you to implement research-based approaches to crime prevention, that will help keep people out of prisons, including raising the age of criminal responsibility, legalising lower-harm drugs like cannabis and MDMA, removing imprisonment as a sentencing option for use or possession of higher harm drugs, and removing criminal records for people with drug-related offences.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to discuss this matter in more detail.
Dr Amy MacMahon Michael Berkman
Member for South Brisbane Member for Maiwar