ACLU Lawsuit Claims Alabama Discriminates Against HIV-Positive Inmates
March 30, 2011
In a federal lawsuit filed Monday on behalf of 10 HIV-positive inmates, the American Civil Liberties Union claims that Alabama's correctional system discriminates against prisoners with the virus by separating them from others and excluding them from some programs.
The lawsuit -- filed in the Middle District of US District Court in Montgomery -- asks the court to find that the policy violates sections of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. The suit seeks class-action status on behalf of all HIV-positive state inmates, and it asks the court to order an end to the practice of segregating these inmates.
The plaintiffs claim they have been subjected to harsh punishments because of the policy. One inmate was allegedly punished for eating in an area with HIV-negative prisoners; another reportedly was told certain jobs, such as food preparation, were off-limits.
"Prisoners diagnosed with HIV are segregated from all other prisoners and cannot keep their HIV status confidential," the lawsuit says. "Every male prisoner who tests positive for HIV is required to wear an armband publicly identifying him as a person with HIV."
According to the lawsuit, Alabama limits its approximately 250 HIV-positive inmates to certain prisons, meaning they cannot take part in programs offered in other prisons. Alabama and South Carolina are the only states that segregate all inmates with HIV, the suit says.
03.28.2011; Kent Faulk
Missouri: HIV Inmate Deprived of Care, Suit Says -- ACLU Says Case Reflects Pattern of Failure at City Jails
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