Some California Prison Inmates Oppose Integration With HIV-Positive Inmates
February 3, 2004
Some inmates at the California Institution for Men in Chino, Calif., are opposed to a desegregation proposal that would move them into a housing unit with HIV-positive inmates, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports. Prison officials say that the move, which is scheduled to take place this month, is necessary to save money and prevent overcrowding, according to the Press-Enterprise. Officials say that the Del Norte building, which was built in the 1980s specifically to house HIV-positive inmates, now has available space because the number of HIV-positive inmates has declined. Prison official Sgt. Arioma Sams said that the prison's east yard permanent work crew is opposed to the move but added that they "already coexist in the yard" with HIV-positive inmates, attending classes and visiting hours together, the Press-Enterprise reports. A letter sent to the Press-Enterprise claiming to be from the inmates said that HIV-positive and HIV-negative inmates working together and living together are "two very separate ideas" and expressed concerns about HIV exposure and exposure to hepatitis and tuberculosis. California Department of Corrections spokesperson Terry Thornton said that the general populations of several of the state's 32 other prisons integrate HIV-positive inmates, adding that her department supports HIV/AIDS testing and education because of high-risk behavior among some inmates, according to the Press-Enterprise. She added, "Many inmates don't know if they are HIV-positive or not." According to the corrections department, 1.4% of the state's 160,000 inmates were HIV-positive in 2002, the Press-Enterprise reports (Frith, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 1/30).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.