Despite ample empirical evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of needle and syringe programs, the federal Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) refused for decades to implement this essential prison harm reduction program. After years of inaction, in 2012 the HIV Legal Network along with Steve Simons, a man formerly incarcerated in a federal prison, and three HIV organizations — PASAN, CATIE, and CAAN — launched a constitutional challenge to compel CSC to provide people in prison with access to sterile injection equipment.
In 2018, CSC introduced a “Prison Needle Exchange Program” (PNEP) and committed to scaling this up across all federal prisons. But in 2022, the program only exists in nine federal prisons and has been heavily criticized for its inaccessibility.
Four years after its implementation, Points of Perspective seeks to explore barriers to accessing the PNEP and builds on the On Point: Recommendations for Prison-based Needle and Syringe Programs in Canada report released in 2016 by Toronto Metropolitan University, the HIV Legal Network, and PASAN.