October 6, 2008
Activist Proposes Condom Distribution in Tenn. Jail
A condom distribution proposal for inmates in Tennessee’s Shelby County jail was met with mixed reactions, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports.
“AIDS is still alive and well. It’s still coming out of the jail to the black community, and our black women are suffering from this virus, and they’re dying.… I want you all to please put condoms in the jail,” said activist Novella Smith Arnold, who also wants the jail to require inmates be tested for HIV (currently, HIV tests are optional).
Harvey Kennedy, Sheriff Mark Luttrell’s chief administrative officer, believes that passing out condoms may send out the wrong message. “To be issuing condoms for prisoners as they come in would be sending a signal to anyone who walks through the door that you are at high risk” for assault, he said.
Out of the county jail’s 10,495 inmates who were voluntarily tested this year, 215, or 2.04 percent, were positive.
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