HIV-Positive Male Inmates in Alabama Prison Allowed to Attend Educational, Vocational Programs
January 21, 2004
About 200 HIV-positive male inmates at the Athens, Ala., Limestone Correctional Facility on Monday were permitted to attend educational and vocational programs, bringing to an end the state's practice of segregating HIV-positive prisoners from other inmates, the Birmingham News reports (Crowder, Birmingham News, 1/20). Alabama had been the only state to adhere to a policy of total segregation of HIV-positive prisoners. In a report issued in September, the Alabama Governor's HIV Commission for Children, Youth and Adults said that the state's policy of excluding inmates from such programs "simply on the basis of HIV status, has no public health or correctional justification." The report recommended that the state's HIV-positive inmates be allowed to participate in all of the educational, vocational and community-based programs available to other inmates (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/24/03). However, the change in policy does not apply to HIV-positive female inmates, who remain segregated and unable to participate in classes at the Tutwiler Correctional Facility, the AP/Biloxi Sun-Herald reports. Margaret Winter, associate director of the American Civil Liberties Union's National Prison Project, and advocates from AIDS Alabama have called for Prison Commissioner Donal Campbell to change the policy at Tutwiler as well, according to the AP/Sun-Herald (AP/Biloxi Sun-Herald, 1/20). Winter said, "Since 1987, prisoners with HIV/AIDS in Alabama have fought to receive the same opportunities to learn and rehabilitate themselves as other prisoners. Today male prisoners with HIV are closer to equality in Alabama then they have ever been before" (Birmingham News, 1/20).
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