California Assembly Committee Approves Bill That Would Allow Groups To Distribute Condoms to Prison Inmates
The California Assembly Public Safety Committee on Tuesday approved 4-2 a bill (AB 1677) that would allow not-for-profit or public health organizations to distribute condoms, dental dams or other sex-related protective devices to the state's 162,000 prison inmates, the AP/Contra Costa Times reports (Thompson, AP/Contra Costa Times, 4/20). The legislation, introduced by Assembly member Paul Koretz (D), also 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" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/1). Although sex among prisoners is illegal in California, several studies have shown that between 30% and 60% of male inmates have sexual relations with other male inmates, according to Koretz. "It's unrealistic to think we have the ability to completely eliminate sex in prison," Koretz said. He added that the HIV prevalence among inmates is five times the prevalence among the general population and that California spends approximately $18 million annually treating HIV-positive inmates. However, Benjamin Lopez of the Traditional Values Coalition said the bill would encourage sexual relations in prisons (AP/Contra Costa Times, 4/20).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.