19th January 2007
Following an inquest into an inmate's injection drug overdose at the Woodford Correctional Center, Queensland Coroner Michael Barnes has come out in support of clean syringe access for prisoners.
The prisoner, who was serving a life sentence for murder, was found dead during a routine head count in June 2004. Barnes ruled the death, given the prisoner had taken a fatally high dose of heroin and also had hepatitis C, an accident. At the Brisbane Magistrates Court, Barnes noted the prisoner had tested positive for drug use on 15 previous occasions.
"In view of the inability of the Department of Corrective Services to keep prisons drug-free, and in recognition of its obligation to minimize the spread of blood-borne viruses among the prison population and those prisoners will come in contact with after release, I recommend that prisoners be given access to clean syringes," said Barnes.