Description of Program
What is the intervention/program/project?
HIV North Society delivers prevention programming to federal and provincial correctional centres in rural Alberta.
In the federal prison, HIV North Society delivers a Reception Awareness Program (RAP), which is a powerpoint presentation. The presentation is supplied by the prison. An outreach worker travels to the prison to offer the program for 3 hours to a group of 4 to 20 people. The program is mandatory for all incarcerated individuals. The presentation covers basic HIV/AIDS information, including what it HIV is, transmission and prevention. The outreach worker may not modify the presentation, but can customize the verbal content. No safer sex supply distribution is permitted.
An outreach worker travels to the provincial correctional centre from HIV North Society’s satellite office to offer the program once per month. The 1-2 hour long presentation is created by HIV North Society and tailored to meet the audience’s needs. The focus of the presentations is the basic transmission of HIV and the prevention of HCV relating to home tattooing and piercing. The presentation is not mandatory and people can attend at their own accord. HIV North Society offers snacks. Condoms are permitted to be left at the front desk. The outreach worker can speak with people in their rooms accompanied by a staff member.
What is the goal/objective of the intervention/program/project?
The goal is to provide enough information to prevent the transmission of HIV/HCV when people are engaged in risky behaviour either inside or outside the facilities.
Why was the intervention/program/project originally developed?
Many of the people that HIV North Society saw in their drop-in centre were cyclically incarcerated. HIV North Society saw the benefit of providing education and reaching out to their clients in a closed setting with a captive audience in the prison and correctional facility.
How was the program/initiative/project developed?
The program developed organically. Conversations began with incarcerated individuals in a correctional facility working to determine their needs for HIV/AIDS education. HIV North Society was approved by the facilities to deliver the education.
OrganizationHIV North Society
- Harm reduction
- Harm reduction
- Incarcerated and/or remanded individuals
Name: Brenda Yamkowy
Position: Executive Director
Federal prison in Grande Cache and provincial correctional centre in Peace River.
Resources for Program
- One outreach worker for each facility, 1 day/month.
- Vehicle mileage.
- Food for presentations.
- Powerpoint presentation.
- Educational resources.
- Supplies for distribution.
DurationOngoing [federal facility is operating on a 3 year project funding basis]
Output evaluation or tracking
- Number of people at each session, number of sessions.
- Information from outreach worker, informal information gathering from prisoners.
Evaluation TermsOutcome evaluation, Output tracking
- There is a huge need for HIV/AIDS education in prisons and correctional facilities. Very basic questions are asked, which shows the benefit of offering this type of education.
- It is easier to offer HIV education in the provincial facility where the education is not mandatory and individuals have a chance to remain in the room and ask questions. In the federal facility, individuals are ushered in and out of the room after 3 hours. More meaningful conversations are held in the provincial facility, where the presentations can be tailored to audience needs.
- The staff in the prisons are very valuable.
- Travel and weather is a big challenge. It takes several hours to drive to the locations. The weather and highways can be in poor condition. Accidents on the road can shut down the highways.
- There are many challenges delivering HIV education in the federal facility. It is very difficult to engage people when they are either not interested or their attendance is mandatory. It is hard to teach about preventing the transmission of HIV with condoms and then not be able to leave supplies behind. It is required that inmates sit in the room for three hours, which is too long to keep people engaged.
- The federal prison often goes into “lock down” and the presentation needs to be cancelled. When the outreach workers are not notified ahead of time, they have travelled four hours to have to re-schedule the presentation. This means that two presentations must be done the next month.
- HIV North Society services 49% of the province, geographically. It is a challenge to reschedule presentations with so few staff.