Presentation by Gary Lewis
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The importance of health care for people in custody

Perth (Australia), 25 November 2009 - The twenty-ninth meeting of the Asian and Pacific Conference of Correctional Administrators (APCCA) took place in Perth, Australia, from 15 to 20 November 2009. This year, high-level officials from 27 jurisdictions registered for the meeting, which was also attended by several VIPs. Four agencies, including UNODC, were invited as observers, bringing the total attendance to 160 participants.

During the meeting, major sessions and specialist workshops were held:

  1. National Report on Contemporary Issues in Corrections
  2. Providing efficient and effective health services for prisoners, including harm-reduction strategies
  3. Prisoner employment as a mechanism to promote good order in prisons and reduce recidivism
  4. Developing and implementing parole systems and community based sentences
  5. Engaging with other criminal justice system agencies (including police, judges and policy-makers) to achieve consistency of goals
  6. Fairness and efficiency in handling prisoners' complaints
  7. Success stories in corrections, with special reference to technoplogy, staff welfare and community engagement

UNODC Regional Representative Gary Lewis gave a presentation in the session on " Providing efficient and effective health services for prisoners, including harm reduction strategies". The presentation addressed the opportunity to provide health care services to prisoners and to introduce harm reduction strategies (such as the provision of training to medical and prison staff, and education to prisoners) to minimise the spread of infectious diseases such as HIV, Tuberculosis and Hepatitis. The presentation also stressed the importance of providing continued care and treatment in the community when prisoners are released. The session also provided an opportunity to collect information for a regional assessment that UNODC will conduct, with the support of the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), in 2010 on health care, including the treatment and prevention of infectious diseases in correctional settings.

Participants at the meeting also heard specialist presentations on the development of draft United Nations rules for women prisoners, which included an overview of the Enhancing Lives for Female Inmates (ELFI) project in Thailand; the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Torture by the Association for the Prevention of Torture; and the Commissioner's Brush Farm International Scholarship and other professional development opportunities by the Department of Corrective Services of New South Wales, in Australia. Participants also had the opportunity to visit two correctional facilities in Western Australia: Karnet Prison Farm and the Boronia Pre-release Centre for Women.

Further information about APCCA, including previous Conference Reports can be found at