Katy Gallagher’s announcement today that she will establish a needle exchange at the ACT jail gives Canberrans a clear choice at the upcoming election in October. A vote for Labor or the Greens is a vote for a needle exchange at the jail and only a vote for the Canberra Liberals will prevent this flawed policy, according to ACT Shadow Health and Corrections Minister Jeremy Hanson.
“The Government’s own report found that a needle exchange will lead to the ‘quasi- legalisation of drug use within the correctional centre’ (Hamburger Report 12.1) and this is now a major point of difference between the parties as we go into the election,” Mr Hanson said.
“Labor and the Greens support the quasi-legalisation of drugs at the ACT Jail and the Canberra Liberals don’t.
“Given 75 per cent of prisoners are in jail for drug-related crimes, we have a golden opportunity to break their cycle of drug dependency while they are in jail. A needle exchange simply condones and maintains their ongoing drug use and will see prisoners released with the same drug habits that led to their crimes.
“Katy Gallagher has ignored the concerns of prison guards and prisoners by implementing a needle exchange that they vehemently oppose.
“Prison guards are already being threatened and attacked, but instead of addressing this issue, Katy Gallagher wants to introduce potential weapons into the mix.
“This is an ideologically driven policy that will have bad consequences for prisoners, corrections staff and the community. We will repeal a drug needle exchange program should we come into Government.
“Today’s announcement shows the marked difference between the priorities of the Labor/Greens government and the Liberals, and I urge Canberrans to keep this in mind when going to the polls in two months time,” Mr Hanson concluded.