SACRAMENTO, Calif.--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), today hailed the passage of California Assembly Bill 999 (Rob Bonta, D—District 18, representing Oakland, Alameda and San Leandro)—The Prisoner Protections for Family and Community Health Act—a bill that requires California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to develop a 5-year plan to extend the availability of condoms in all California prisons. The bill cleared the Legislature in Sacramento last evening. AHF is now urging Governor Brown to swiftly sign AB 999 into law.
“We commend the California Legislature for passing AB 999, a bill that will go a long way to reduce the spread of HIV and other STDs among California inmates and their post-incarceration partners”
“We commend the California Legislature for passing AB 999, a bill that will go a long way to reduce the spread of HIV and other STDs among California inmates and their post-incarceration partners,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “We thank Assemblymember Bonta for authoring and carrying this important legislation and now urge Governor Jerry Brown to swiftly sign this lifesaving bill into law.”
According to text found on the California Legislative Information website, AB 999 would:
“…require the department (Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation) to develop a 5-year plan to extend the availability of condoms in all California prisons. The bill would require, commencing January 1, 2015, and contingent upon the receipt of donations by the department, that no less than 5 prisons be incorporated into the program each year, and would require a comprehensive plan to include every prison in the state by the final year. The bill would require all nonadministrative costs of the program, including the dispensers and condoms, to be paid for through donations. The bill would allow the department to decline to implement the program at a prison after specifying the reason in an addendum to the comprehensive plan if the department demonstrates that implementation of the program at a particular prison would be unsafe.”
“Existing condom distribution programs in jails in New York, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, San Francisco and Los Angeles already demonstrate that this California law can work without threatening safety and security in the state’s correctional facilities,” said Whitney Engeran-Cordova, Senior Director of AHF’s Public Health Division. “California’s prison and public health officials often walk a fine line as they try to grapple with controlling the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases among inmates in the state’s prison population while following state law. The availability and use of condoms—a proven risk-reduction strategy—will improve inmates’ individual health outcomes and helped reduce costs to the state’s already overburdened prison health care system.”
AHF previously sponsored two similar condoms in prisons bills that fell short of becoming law. The two prior condoms in prisons bills that AHF sponsored include: AB 1334 (Sandre Swanson, D-Oakland), in 2007 and AB 1677 (Paul Koretz, D-W. Hollywood) in 2005, both of which cleared the Legislature but were vetoed by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
However, when Schwarzenegger vetoed the second bill, he did order a pilot project at Vacaville, a program that generated very positive results and became the foundation for moving AB 999 forward.
About AIDS Healthcare Foundation
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 230,000 individuals in 28 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare.