Jackson Clarion-Ledger Examines Programs That Distribute Condoms to Prison Inmates
The Jackson Clarion-Ledger on Wednesday examined programs in Mississippi and Vermont that provide condoms to prison inmates to curb the spread of HIV. Since 1992, Mississippi has distributed condoms at no cost to married inmates to prevent pregnancy and the spread of HIV during conjugal visits, state Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps said. However, the program is not intended to target the spread of the virus within the prison because HIV-positive inmates are separated from the general population, according to Epps. Under Vermont's program, which officials began 10 years ago to address HIV/AIDS and other health issues within the state's prisons, inmates must request condoms, John Perry, director of planning with the state Department of Corrections, said. Mississippi and Vermont are the only two states with such programs, but jail systems in some major cities -- including Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. -- also distribute condoms to inmates. In addition, the California Assembly currently is considering a measure (AB 1677) to allow not-for-profit or public health organizations to distribute condoms, dental dams or other sex-related protective devices to prison inmates in the state (Kanengiser, Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 6/16).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.