Public Safety - HIV/Hepatitis in Prison sign now

Stockwell Day
Public Safety Minister
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario

Dear Mr. Day:

It is my understanding that you want to remove Tattoo Parlors from Corrections because you do not believe taxpayers should foot the bill for prisoners to get tattoos. How do you feel about taxpayers footing the bill for the treatment costs incurred when prisoners contract HIV and Hepatitis as the result of underground tattoos? How are you going to feel about HIV and Hepatitis crossing the boundary between prison and the community as more and more prisoners are released who have HIV and Hepatitis? When that happens, and it will, do you think the voting public will care that you wanted to save them money?

You have the figures available to you that show the rising numbers of HIV and Hepatitis in prisons and the HIV Legal Network knows you have them at your disposal too. The numbers referred to in those documents and studies are the known numbers and do not include those prisoners who have not been tested. In the event you do not know what that means I will explain it to you. The numbers are higher than we know and many will leave prison not aware they are infected. These men and women will form sexual relationships in the community and HIV will spread unknowingly to innocent people. You want to end a program that could realistically slow down the spread of HIV and Hepatitis instead of adopting programs that will actually save lives. Programs like Tattoo Parlors and Needle Exchange Programs. How do you think the voters will feel when they discover that a man responsible for public safety actually made a decision that placed them at greater risk?

Have you become so lost in your need to earn brownie points with the voters by being tougher on prisoners that you have forgotten you are the Minister of Public Safety? Dont you understand that it costs the taxpayers thousands of dollars more to treat prisoners with HIV and Hepatitis than Tattoo Parlors and Needle Exchange Programs combined would cost? What about the high cost when HIV begins to show up in our communities as more and more prisoners are released? This is not about special treatment for prisoners; your decision, if you go through with it, is going to affect the public. I have no doubt the predictions of an increase in our communities of HIV and Hepatitis will prove true. The HIV Legal Network knows this as well. I believe you know it too and that is scary. It is my hope that you will change your mind about your decision. I do a lot of public speaking and I intend to be extremely vocal about your plans and if I have to work to take one vote away from you and your government at a time I will do that. It seems incredible to me that you would complain about the cost of Tattoo Parlors when your government gives prison guards what amounts to an approximate 30\% salary increase for doing a job they often make more dangerous. They are now on par with the RCMP and getting more than city police both of whom actually do risk their lives. To feed off the publics anger at crime and those who commit it while placing the public at risk is a low way to gain popularity. I hope you never have to explain your decision to a parent losing a son or daughter to HIV because you took one preventative measure out of the system.

We sincerely request you revisit your decision.


Yours truly,

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Jason MarshBy:
School and EducationIn:
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Stockwell Day - Public Safety Minister

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