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National News

Alabama: Lawsuit Says HIV Inmate Facility Inadequate

November 22, 2002

A lawsuit contends that Alabama's Limestone Correctional Facility in Capshaw, where HIV-positive prisoners are held, does not provide adequate medical care. The suit, filed against the state by Miami attorney David Lipman, claims 12 HIV-positive inmates have died in the 240-person HIV unit of LCF this year. Alabama isolates inmates with HIV from the non-infected inmate population. Prison officials on Wednesday disputed Lipman's claim, saying only nine inmates have died and that there is nothing unusual about that number.

The suit was filed in US District Court in Birmingham on behalf of inmates Antonio Leatherwood, Eric Howard, Jerry Sanford, John Levins and Michael Patrick. Lipman said medical treatment is so bad at the facility that some prisoners had open sores that were left untreated. He claimed that inmates are housed in a dilapidated warehouse with holes in the roof and insect and rat infestations.

Prison warden Billy Mitchem said some HIV-positive inmates suffered a rash or some type of insect bites earlier this year, but that the cause was unknown, and he had not "heard of any complaints about sores in the last two months." Mitchem said the prison renovated the warehouse building in 1994-1995. The building houses 200 HIV-positive inmates with 40 more in protective custody. "It offers more open room, like a bay area, and a yard for exercise," Mitchem said. "Yes, it undergoes repairs from time to time, but we have maintenance for that."

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Adapted from:
Associated Press

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
More Legal Issues for Incarcerated HIV-Positive People