San Francisco County Distributes Condoms in Jails Despite Gov. Schwarzenegger’s Veto of Prison Condom Distribution Bill
San Francisco County is distributing condoms in jails as part of a safe-sex education program despite California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) veto of a bill (AB 1677) that would have allowed not-for-profit organizations to distribute condoms in jails, the Oakland Tribune reports (Winkelman, Oakland Tribune, 12/18). The bill, proposed by Assembly member Paul Koretz (D), would have allowed public health organizations to distribute condoms, dental dams or "other sex-related protective devices" to California's 162,000 prison inmates. The bill was sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, AIDS Project Los Angeles and the Southern California HIV/AIDS Coalition (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/2). About 2% to 5% of the 2,100 inmates in the five county jails are HIV-positive, Kate Monico Klein, director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health's Forensic AIDS Project, said, adding that although the jails are not necessarily a high-risk HIV transmission setting, prevention programs such as condom distribution are critical. The county -- which is one of seven jurisdictions nationally that distributes condoms to inmates -- avoids the prohibition on condom distribution by handing them out as part of a safe-sex educational tool, according to Monico Klein. Many county jails in California -- including those in Alameda, Contra Costa and San Joaquin -- ban condoms, and condoms also are not permitted in the 18 federal prisons in the state, the Tribune reports (Oakland Tribune, 12/18).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.