Bring back safe prison tattooing to protect health: federal ombudsman

Unsafe tattooing can spread HIV and hepatitis between inmates

The federal prison ombudsman says the Correctional Service of Canada should bring back its safe tattooing program.

In his annual report today, correctional investigator Ivan Zinger says tattooing behind bars often involves sharing and reusing dirty homemade equipment.

He says illicit tattooing has been associated with higher rates of hepatitis C and HIV among inmates.

In addition, there is often no safe means of disposing of used needles.

In 2005, the prison service began a pilot program involving tattoo rooms in six federal institutions.

Two years later, the then-Conservative government ended the program.

The Canadian Press