Regarding Rights

Academic and activist perspectives on human rights


Leave a comment

Women in Australian prisons and why they need human rights protections

Oath 2009, by Carolyn McKay.  Reproduced with permission of the artist.

Oath 2009, by Carolyn McKay.
Reproduced with permission of the artist.

By Anita Mackay

Monash University

The ACT Human Rights Commission is currently conducting an audit and review of the treatment of women in the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC). This raises the broader question of “what human rights do women in Australian prisons have?”[1] Continue Reading →


Leave a comment

A human rights assessment of the proposed needle and syringe exchange program in Canberra’s prison

By Anita Mackay

Monash University

Original photo by Todd Huffman at flikr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/99287245@N00/2344377068

Original photo by Todd Huffman at flikr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/99287245@N00/2344377068

The ACT government has announced the introduction of a needle and syringe exchange program for the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC) as a method for reducing the spread of blood-borne viruses.  This is a contentious proposal that faces a degree of opposition, including from prison officers and nurses.  If it goes ahead, the ACT would become the first jurisdiction in Australia to have such a program in a prison.  This post considers some of the arguments in favour of, and against, the proposal from a human rights perspective.  It concludes that a needle and syringe exchange program, if implemented in a manner that is informed by overseas experience, would be consistent with the human rights of both prisoners and prison officers. 

Continue Reading →