Advocacy – Prison

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Transmission of HIV in prison settings in Mauritius among People Who Inject Drugs

CUT prepared a position paper on 13.08.2014 to highlight the devastating effects of little or no harm reduction programme in Prisons, in Mauritius. The paper contained relevant points on evidence based best practices already in place internationally to minimize the spread of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C (HCV) with prisons. It also reflected on several policies that contribute on the cycle of poverty, such as the inability to obtain work by ex-detainees, because of the lack of certificate of character.

CUT’s recommendations:

Considering the fact that there is a strong link in Mauritius between injecting drug use and our prison settings, mainly due to our drug policies, exposing people who use drugs to incarceration with restricted Harm Reduction services, difficult post-incarceration reinsertion and HIV and HCV vulnerability, we recommend that:

  1. The Government tries a pilot project in prison for the distribution of condoms and sterile injecting equipment, by exploring the best methodology with the collaboration of prison staff and civil society, including people who use drugs and prison inmates, with plans of sustainability thereafter.
  2. The Government reviews its Certificate of Character Act that impedes smooth reinsertion into professional and social life after release for people who use drugs.
  3. The Government facilitates more access to Methadone Substitution Therapy in prison for female inmates, as well as for inmates facing administrative barriers, like the lack of ID Card), and for young people who use drugs as well (Rehabilitation Youth Centres/Correctional Youth Centres).
  4. The Government reviews its laws concerning the criminalisation of paraphernalia that impedes access to Needle and Syringe Programs for People who Inject Drugs. Paraphernalia laws have also impeded in the purchase and distribution of a wider variety of essential injecting equipment to prevent the transmission of blood-borne viruses, and have sent more people in our already overcrowded prisons.
  5. The Government considers drug policy reform, in line with UN Bodies recommendations, and in consultation with civil society, including people who use drugs. Laws criminalising People Who Use Drugs nourishes prison overpopulation and vulnerabilities to blood-borne viruses like HIV and Hepatitis C Virus.

 

To read the full paper click here – Position Paper on Transimission of HIV in Prions among PWID