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Prison Tattoo Project Should Be Restored: AIDS Activist

A pilot project that allowed prisoners a safe way to sport tattoos, with the help of tattoo parlors in prison, ended in September 2006. Now, an AIDS activist has urged the// reinstatement of this project in Ottawa, outlining the benefits of tattoo parlors in prison, as a method to check the spread of AIDS.

It is estimated that nearly 17% of the prisoners go in for tattoos or body piercing. This being the scenario, the usage of sterile needles is of utmost importance in checking the spread of infectious disease like AIDS.

Dr. David Butler-Jones, Canada's chief public health officer, had expressed in an article that the federal government did not wait enough to ascertain the effectiveness of this pilot project, in checking the spread of contagious diseases. The time accorded for the project, one year, is too short to gauge the results conclusively.

The tattoo project worth $600,000 formed a part of the federal AIDS drive and had commenced in August 2005. The Public Health Agency, under whose charge the project began, accorded training to an inmate to provide sterile tattoos under supervision. Such tattoo parlors were instituted at six prisons for a one-year period which ended in September 2006.

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