HIV Segregation in SC Prisons Comes to an End

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Thanks to a new policy from the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC), the 351 male and 15 female HIV-positive prisoners in South Carolina will no longer be subjected to segregation within the state’s prisons. On Wednesday, July 10, the SCDC officially ended its policy of separating prisoners who have HIV from the rest of the general population.
The new policy did not set a required date for integration of the HIV-positive prisoners with the rest of the general population. Though the SCDC’s decision makes South Carolina the last state to end segregation based on HIV in their prisons, the decision was still praised by American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
According to a press release by the ACLU, the SCDC’s decision ends decades of prison treatment that required prisoners in South Carolina to involuntarily share their health status. The ACLU believes this to have been a violation of both medical ethics considerations and international human rights law. The organization also cited concerns with the previous segregation policy’s requirement of making prisoners with HIV live in isolated sections of the prison, which in turn limited these prisoners’ access to available prison jobs, rehabilitative programs, educational programs, vocational programs, and programs designed to enhance the prisoners’ trade skills.
In praising the new policy established by the SCDC, the ACLU called the department’s move a “milestone” towards the move to end HIV segregation within the South. The South Carolina decision follows a December 2012 ruling in the US District Court for the Middle District of Alabama which ruled that Alabama’s policy of segregating prisoners with HIV violated the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. This ruling came after the ACLU filed a lawsuit. The ACLU joined with Human Rights Watch to provide a report detailing the type of discrimination faced by HIV positive prisoners in Alabama’s prisons. According to the report, the segregation policies that were designed to combat fear, prejudice and violence against prisoners with HIV instead promoted these feelings within the Alabama prison system.
Thanks to a new policy from the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC), the 351 male and 15 female HIV-positive prisoners in South Carolina will no longer be subjected to segregation within the state’s prisons. On Wednesday, July 10, the SCDC officially ended its policy of separating prisoners who have HIV from the rest of the general population.
The new policy did not set a required date for integration of the HIV-positive prisoners with the rest of the general population. Though the SCDC’s decision makes South Carolina the last state to end segregation based on HIV in their prisons, the decision was still praised by American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
According to a press release by the ACLU, the SCDC’s decision ends decades of prison treatment that required prisoners in South Carolina to involuntarily share their health status. The ACLU believes this to have been a violation of both medical ethics considerations and international human rights law. The organization also cited concerns with the previous segregation policy’s requirement of making prisoners with HIV live in isolated sections of the prison, which in turn limited these prisoners’ access to available prison jobs, rehabilitative programs, educational programs, vocational programs, and programs designed to enhance the prisoners’ trade skills.
In praising the new policy established by the SCDC, the ACLU called the department’s move a “milestone” towards the move to end HIV segregation within the South. The South Carolina decision follows a December 2012 ruling in the US District Court for the Middle District of Alabama which ruled that Alabama’s policy of segregating prisoners with HIV violated the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. This ruling came after the ACLU filed a lawsuit. The ACLU joined with Human Rights Watch to provide a report detailing the type of discrimination faced by HIV positive prisoners in Alabama’s prisons. According to the report, the segregation policies that were designed to combat fear, prejudice and violence against prisoners with HIV instead promoted these feelings within the Alabama prison system.

 

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