August 24, 2006

California Lawmakers to Allow Condoms in Prisons

SAN FRANCISCO -- California lawmakers passed a bill on Thursday to permit condom distribution in the state's prisons, where the HIV infection rate is eight times higher than on the streets of Los Angeles.

The bill now goes to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has not yet taken a position on it, according to his office.

California has the largest corrections system in the United States, with 162,000 mostly male inmates. Supporters say condoms are needed to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS among inmates and protect sexual partners of released prisoners.

The bill's author, Assemblyman Paul Koretz, said the HIV rate in state prisons is estimated to be eight times greater than among the general population of Los Angeles County.