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Adopting Measures To Combat The Spread Of Infectious Diseases In Prison

Original Language Title: Adopta medidas de combate a propagação de doenças infecto-contagiosas em meio prisional

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The report, from the Provedory of Justice, on the prison system, published in 1996,

it gave account of the deeply worrying situation concerning the incidence of diseases

infectious-contagious among inmates in prison establishments in Portugal.

Among other issues addressed, this report gave well account of the cause/effect relationship

between the consumption of drugs by intravenous and the spread of diseases such as

AIDS among inmates, due to the common practice of sharing syringes.

With a view to taking urgent action and cerfolios to cope with the dramatic situation

detected in the prisons, the Sr Ombudsman recommended in the 1996 report " that the

General Directorate for Prisonal Services to undertake feasibility studies

of introduction in the prison establishments of syringe exchange systems that

reduce the risks of infection in a prison medium ".

It's been almost 10 years and this syringe exchange program in a prison half hasn't been

studied and consequently was not implemented, despite the Plan of Action

National Drug and Drug Addiction-horizon 2004, published

in 2001, have foreseen " to promote the study for the possible installation, by title

experimental, of syringe exchange programs or aseptic consumption in some

prison establishments ".

Since then, the successive reports of the Provedory of Justice on the state of our

prisons have insisted on that recommendation. In the last available report, from 2003, the

same is resumed, already in the form of appeal: " In these terms, I appeal to Your Excellency

so that, at a minimum that seems to me to be actually demanded, promote the realization

participates in studies on the introduction of syringe exchange or room programs

of assisted injection in a prison medium ".

In the meantime, there have been other studies that have been given out more details about the

drug use in a prison medium, concluding from the large percentage of population

reclusive that drugs in prisons and, in large numbers, by intravenous, assuming,

many of the inmates who have been part of the studies that share syringes. Thus

completed a study of Anália Torres and Maria do Carmo Gomes, on Drugs and Prisons

in Portugal, published in 2002.

Also the Evaluation Study of the Seringas Program-says no to a syringe in

second hand ", commissioned by the National Commission to Fight AIDS, states

that if this syringe exchange program had been implemented in prisons to have-if-

were to be avoided, between 1993 and 2001 at least 638 contaminations.

In the meantime, it is known that the experience of exchanging syringes in a prison medium has already been

implemented in other countries, with positive results.

There is an issue that is recurrently raised, when discussing this matter, which

has to do with the dangerousness of the presence of syringes in prisons, which one can

make in real "weapons". This argument there is countering that our proposal

it is not that they are walking the circular freely syringes in prisons, but rather that they are

distributed in a safe manner, in own compartment and immediately restituted

after its use. Incidentally, the problem is that there are currently inmates who are injecting themselves.

in prisons, which means that there is circulation, exchange and use of syringes. Means that

these are clandestinely in the possession of the inmates and of the current situation, of that yes, the

syringes can become a security threat.

It will then be legitimate to ask: what are we waiting for? We have or not

responsibility to intervene on dramatic situations and to seek to give them answers

suitable in such a way as to minimise at most all risks?

To avoid any longer delays, which will necessarily translate into more dramas, " The

Greens " propose an amendment to the law No. 170/99 of September 18 adopting measures

of combating the spread of infectious diseases in a prison medium (this law

arose from a legislative initiative of "The Greens" and which was aimed at

justly implement a set of preventive and minimising risk measures

for health in prisons).

Now, for the third time, in three separate legislatures (VIII, IX and X), the Group

MP 'The Greens' presents a draft law that aims to implement the exchange of

syringes in a prison medium.

It is in these terms that, under the applicable constitutional and regimental provisions,

the Deputies of the Parliamentary Group "The Greens" present the following:


Single Article

A Article 5º to Law No. 170/99 of September 18, which adopts measures of

combating the spread of contagious infectious diseases in a prison medium, with the

following wording:

" Article 5º To

Specific program of exchange of syringes

1. Within the framework of the risk reduction and disease prevention programmes

contagious infect, provided for in the previous article, the Ministry that guardies health

in conjunction with the Ministry that guardian the justice create a specific program

of exchange of syringes in a prison medium.

2. The specific syringes exchange programme will be experienced in a number

limited of prison establishments, to be defined by joint dispatch of the

Ministers with the tutelage of health and justice, to be published in the maximum term of 3

months after the entry into force of this diploma, and will be gradually, and with

the necessary adaptations, extended to the remaining prison establishments of the


3. With a view to the definition and implementation of the syringes exchange program the

Ministries referred to in the preceding paragraphs define the framework of their

application by joint dispatch, to be published within a maximum of 3 months after the

entry into force of this diploma, in which they guarantee in particular the

following principles:

a) The supply of syringes to the addicted inmates, who

they consume narcotic drugs by intravenous route, it is aimed at

non-sharing of syringes among the reclusive population, so as to avoid the

contamination of infectious diseases.

b) The supply of syringes is made to the addicted inmates who

request the protected consumption, and with permission from the services of


c) The consumption of narcotic drugs by intravenous is done in

compartments specifically prepared in the establishments

prisms, ensuring conditions of privacy, hygiene and security.

d) The compartments referred to in the preceding paragraph shall have to

sterilized material and should be supported by health technicians.

e) The supply of syringe to the reclusive drug addict is made to the

entry of the compartment referred to in point (c), being restituted by the

addictions to the outlet of the same.

f) To the reclusive drug addict who requires the protected consumption are

guaranteed medical assistance and, where consent from the

Addictions, their inclusion in a recovery programme of

drugs. "

Palace of S. Bento, June 6, 2005

The Deputies

Heloísa Apollonian Francisco Madeira Lopes