Policy & Politics
California Bill Would Allow Groups to Distribute Condoms to Prison Inmates
March 1, 2005
Not-for-profit or public health organizations would be allowed to distribute condoms, dental dams or "other sex-related protective devices" to California's 162,000 prison inmates under a bill (AB 1677) proposed by Assembly member Paul Koretz (D), the Sacramento Bee reports. The bill would require the state Department of Corrections to develop a plan for the disposal of used devices that "protects the anonymity of inmates and protects the health of correctional officers." The bill has "touched off a verbal firestorm" in the state Legislature in part because the bill would provide inmates with condoms and other devices for "sex acts they can't legally commit," according to the Bee. Koretz said that Vermont and Mississippi permit condom distribution in prisons, as do Canada and some countries in Western Europe and Latin America. Los Angeles and San Francisco counties have allowed county jail inmates to receive condoms for the past two years, and jail officials say the policy has had favorable results, the Bee reports. In addition, Los Angeles County allows a local not-for-profit group to provide condoms to gay inmates, who are housed in a separate unit, according to the Bee.
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