Alabama Department of Corrections Asks Federal Judge to Dismiss Contempt Motion Filed by HIV-Positive Inmates
May 3, 2005
Attorneys for the Alabama Department of Corrections have asked a federal judge to dismiss a recent contempt motion that was filed by attorneys representing 240 HIV-positive state prison inmates and requests that the judge hold the state in contempt of court for violating a settlement that required DOC to provide better medical care in prisons, the AP/TuscaloosaNews.com reports. The request calls the complaints "misleading and inaccurate" and says DOC has taken "adequate steps" to comply with the settlement, according to the AP/TuscaloosaNews.com (Jafari, AP/TuscaloosaNews.com, 4/29). Attorneys for the inmates in February filed a motion to have U.S. District Judge Karon Bowdre hold the state in contempt of court for violating the settlement. The department in April 2004 settled a 2002 federal lawsuit filed by HIV-positive inmates at the Limestone Correctional Facility. Under the settlement -- which was signed by the department; Birmingham-based NaphCare, the prison system's former medical contractor; and plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit -- the department is required to provide various improvements in living conditions and medical care for the state's HIV-positive inmates, who are housed at a 300-person HIV unit at Limestone. An August 2003 report by the Atlanta-based Southern Center for Human Rights provided a detailed case summary of the deaths of 38 HIV-positive inmates between 1999 and 2002 and concluded that the unit's medical care system was substandard. Under the settlement, the department is required to allow a medical consultant to monitor the conditions of the HIV unit on a quarterly basis for two years and must hire a full-time nurse to coordinate infection control and inmate medical care (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/23). The filing also was in response to a complaint filed last month by SCHR alleging that the prison system has not corrected "extensive noncompliant acts," the AP/TuscaloosaNews.com reports.
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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.