Delaware Lawmakers Introduce Bill That Would Mandate HIV Testing of State Prisoners
A group of Delaware lawmakers Tuesday introduced a bill (SB 291) that would require all inmates in the state to be tested for HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis, the Wilmington News Journal reports. The bill comes after a News Journal series that reported on the high rates of inmate deaths due to AIDS-related complications or suicide in Delaware. The series prompted the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice to launch an investigation into medical care in the state's prisons. Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner said the administration has made an effort to improve its oversight on medical issues inside prisons. HIV testing for inmates is mandatory in about 20 states, and 24 states require sex offenders to be tested if either the survivor, prosecutor or court requests it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The bill would require that prison guards be trained as medical caregivers and that they be able to assist in childbirth. The bill -- which is co-sponsored by Sen. Karen Peterson (D) and Sen. Harris McDowell (D) and was introduced by Sen. Margaret Rose Henry (D) -- is supported by prison guards and clergy. The bill was assigned to the Senate Adult and Juvenile Corrections Committee for consideration. Minner (D) said she has not had the chance to look at the measure (Williams et al., Wilmington News Journal, 4/12).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.