New York State Assembly Members Call for Law Requiring Condom Distribution in State Prisons
New York State Assembly members Jeff Aubry (D) and Dick Gottfried (D) on Friday urged the state to pass a law that would require prisons to distribute condoms to inmates, even though sexual intercourse in prison is prohibited, the New York Daily News reports. Aubry and Gottfried said that they were concerned that 5,500, or 8%, of the state's 65,800 inmates are HIV-positive and criticized the state's "ostrich-like" response to inmate health care. Gottfried said that inmates at New York City's Rikers Island prison are able to obtain condoms from the jail's clinics, according to the Daily News. He said, "To do otherwise is just ignoring common sense." Aubry said that New York government officials have "taken the attitude the public won't stand for it (giving out condoms) even though they understand it would save lives." However, James Flateau, spokesperson for the state Department of Correctional Services, asked, "Do the Assembly Democrats also propose that we give inmates needles and syringes so they can shoot up drugs like they did on the outside, too?" He added that Gottfried's comparison between state correctional facilities and the city's Rikers Island facility is not "fair" because inmates are only held there for "brief stays while state convicts are in for years," according to the Daily News (Mahoney, New York Daily News, 11/15). Gottfried and Aubry proposed similar legislation in April 2002 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/30/02).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.