A prisoner may appeal after his application for a judicial
review to introduce a needle exchange in the prison service was
In the first case of its kind, John Shelley, an inmate at Long
Lartin prison near Evesham, said the health of drug-using prisoners
was put at risk from having to share dirty needles with other
inmates. He argued this was in breach of their human rights.
Shelley’s solicitor, Sean Humber, is now looking into a
possible appeal after the prison service refused a judicial review
of the policy over “security concerns”.
Humber said: “The quality and treatment of care for prisoners is
not of the same standard enjoyed by the rest of society, and the
prison service needs to justify itself.”
Humber added that there was no evidence to show security risks,
such as prisoners using the needles as weapons.
He said health authorities used exchanges to reduce the risk of
spreading diseases, including HIV and hepatitis.
DrugScope’s head of policy, Dr Marcus Roberts, said there
was a “moral obligation” on the prison service to help drug users
avoid serious harm. The way to do this was by introducing needle
Three-quarters of drug users in jail share needles, and Home
Office studies have shown that between 2 and 8 per cent of
prisoners inject drugs.