On Oct. 14, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a number of bills, including Assembly Bill 1334, which would provide condoms for prison inmates to reduce the increase in HIV.
Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill, but’ll allow a pilot program to be established in one of the federal prisons. Condoms in prison will help prevent the spread of disease. However, some believe the resistance that some have toward the bill comes in the form of actually acknowledging that these inmates are having sex.
The idea of sexual acts in prison is often joked about and viewed as something that happens in desperate or violent situations. Some of society is uncomfortable with the idea of prisoners having sex because it mentally puts them in places they don’t want to be. The reality of the situation is that sex is happening whether or not it is acknowledged, so it only makes sense to provide these inmates with protection.
Inmates in prison are spreading HIV at a rapid rate. Within the past few years, the percentage of those infected with HIV in the prison system has been around 2.6 percent nationwide. The state with the highest percentage of inmates who were infected by HIV was New York at 7 percent.
Prisoners need to be supplied protection for a number of reasons. The obvious reason being to prevent the spread of disease within prison. Those who take part in sexual acts need to be protected properly because the number of those infected not only increases inside prisons, but outside of prison as well once prisoners are released.
Some may argue that these inmates are in prison for doing wrong and should therefore not be protected. However, some of these inmates are in there with the thoughts of one day returning home to their families. I think that many are forgetting that many of these inmates are released and reintroduced to society. With that, society is receiving a hefty dose of disease. Many who may return to families will only spread disease to spouses or partners. With the passing of AB 1334 the number of outside cases of HIV would also decrease.
Schwarzenegger needs to acknowledge that inmates in prison are having sex and need to be supplied with proper protection. Those who want to punish people who partake in sexual activity that they feel is morally wrong need? to look at the number of HIV cases seen in America.
Prison is already an establishment that’s built on punishing those who have done wrong to themselves and members of society. It’s up to a court system to judge which punishment is appropriate. ?
The protection of U.S. citizens should be a top priority for any governor. Schwarzenegger needs to not only step up and acknowledge the sexual acts that are occurring in prison, but needs to provide a better solution to the problem. A pilot program is a step forward, but it’s a small cowardly step.
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