Officials at the South Carolina Department of Corrections say they plan to keep their current system of housing HIV-positive inmates separately from other inmates, even though the U.S. Justice Department says they must stop.
The corrections department was told it would face a federal lawsuit if it did not change its HIV segregation by Wednesday, September 22. But prison officials contend that the practice is a good idea for prison workers as well as all inmates.
In a letter from the prison system to the U.S Justice Department dated August 20, officials say that they don’t need to change the system in order to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. A Department of Corrections attorney states that the department continues to comply with the ADA in its treatment of all inmates, including those who are HIV-positive, and that federal court decisions have already confirmed that.
The American Civil Liberties Union says HIV-positive inmates in South Carolina and Alabama prisons don’t have access to the same programs that regular inmates have. South Carolina corrections officials say they do, in this state’s prisons.
The U.S. Justice Department didn’t not immediately respond to an inquiry from the S.C. Radio Network.
Read Department of Corrections letter: DOJ-HIVLetter_Sept2010