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Told no HIV inmates allowed

Dec 14, 2013

This actually happened to me and I was wondering if this is actually legal. I was arrested for resisting arrest. When we arrived at the local police station. When the guard was informed that I was HIV+. He replied that they do not accept HIV+ inmates. I was informed that I had to be sent to county jail (30 miles away). When I arrived, I was placed in a single person holding cell while general population was allowed to walk free. To me this sounds like HIV+ individual's must be keep separate or just not allowed in.

Is this Legal?

Response from Ms. Douaihy

Dear writer,

Thank you for writing in. I am disturbed by your narrative and urge you to contact the ACLU or civil rights organization to learn about your rights and remedies. I have included the link to the ACLU below.

It is generally not lawful to segregate or otherwise discriminate against HIV positive inmates. Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities. People with HIV/AIDS are protected under these laws. "Discrimination" includes unwarranted segregation of HIV positive people, as well as exclusion of PLWHAS from services of programs. While these laws say that entities like prisons may enforce protocol necessary for the safe operation and delivery of services, such protocols "must be based on actual risks, not on mere speculation, stereotypes, or generalizations about people with disabilities." (See, Department of Justice Press Release 13-1104). So, writer, unless you posed an ACTUAL risk to the prison's safety, you should not have been subjected to differential treatment.

You should contact an attorney at once to talk through your options and learn how to preserve your right to bring any future litigation. To bring suit against a public entity (e.g., a local/county/state prison), filing of a "notice of claim" is generally required within 2-3 months of the incident. Time-frames vary based on jurisdiction.

I wish you good luck.


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