Surviving Hepatitis C in AZ Jails, State Prisons, and Federal Detention Centers.

Surviving Hepatitis C in AZ Jails, State Prisons, and Federal Detention Centers.
The "Hard Time" blogspot is a volunteer-run site for the political organization of people with Hepatitis C behind and beyond prison walls, their loved ones, and whomever cares to join us. We are neither legal nor medical professionals. Some of us may organize for support, but this site is primarily dedicated to education and activism; we are fighting for prevention, detection, treatment, and a cure for Hepatitis C, particularly down in the trenches where most people are dying - in prison or on the street... Join us.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Scottland Prisons to Consider Tattoo Parlors.

This would go so far to stem the spread of Hep C and HIV in prison. Leave it to Europe to set the trends in harm reduction - America could take years to catch up, by which time thousands more will die...


Call for prison tattoo parlours

  • 10117081
  • Lucy Adams
12 Aug 2010

Scottish prisoners would have access to their own tattoo parlour under proposals being considered by officials.

A report commissioned by the prison service has found widespread problems with infections such as Hepatitis C partly because inmates are tattooing each other without the appropriate equipment.

The study – which depicts a diagram of how to make a tattoo gun from materials available to prisoners such as toothbrush handles, pens, glue, guitar strings and lighters – recommends the “piloting of a tattoo studio within one of the long-stay prisons”.

Dona Milne, the author who was seconded to the Scottish Government at the time, suggests there is a need to increase prisoner education on tattooing risks, make available clean materials and where possible consider introducing tattooing parlours. The prison service is still considering the proposal.

According to the report, Hepatitis C affects 16% to 20% of Scottish inmates and 45% to 54% of prisoners who have been, or currently are, intravenous drug users.

In 2008, some 54% of Scotland’s 8000 prisoners said they had a tattoo and 18% of them said they had it done while in prison. In long-stay prisons such as Shotts the proportion who received their tattoo while in jail was 28%.

Most staff said stopping illicit tattooing would be very difficult. Five out of 10 of the prison officers interviewed for the study recognised the “benefits of having a professional tattoo service available” run by prisoners or someone externally, according to the research. However, there was concern about allowing needles into prison.

One prisoner interviewed for the study had received 18 different tattoos while behind bars.

The report states: “The main reasons for getting a tattoo whilst in prison were boredom, cheaper than outside prison, others were getting one and that they had seen the work of the tattooist on someone else.

“Prisoners were asked if they had paid for the tattoo. If the tattoo was done by a friend it was usually for free. However, there was a charge if it was done by another prisoner.

“Where payment was made it was usually in the form of tobacco, although some did involve small amounts of cash payments.”

Inmates had completed up to 200 tattoos on other inmates while in prison – despite the fact the practice is illegal in jail.

Many said they were conscious of the risks of infections such as HIV and most said they took precautions – such as decanting ink into a toothpaste tube lid to avoid sharing ink.

Inmates said they also tried to sterilise equipment – sometimes using prison cleaning fluids – but most thought injecting was much riskier than having a tattoo.

Of the prisoners interviewed most wanted to see an official body art service within prison but they pointed out that for those who could not pay illicit tattooing would continue.

The report states: “Prisoners reported a high level of tattooing activity undertaken with homemade tattoo guns made from a range of components available in the prison setting.

“Prisoners also reported attempts at cleaning equipment and avoiding infection through changing equipment and not sharing ink. There was a good level of understanding of the risks of blood borne virus infection and how this could be prevented, although this knowledge was not always applied in practice.”

A spokesman for the prison service said: “The Scottish Prison Service has a duty of care to the prisoners it holds.

“This research reflects the concern for the practice of tattooing in prison and the potential risks this presents.

“The research and its conclusions will be considered by SPS as part of its ongoing general programme to maintain the health of the prison population.”

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