Juice for Jailhouse Jubilation? Item 1: In July the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (with AIDS Foundation Houston) bused 161 prisoner peer educators from cellblocks all over the state to “Wall Talk,” a first-ever, two-day gathering. Separately, male and female mentors networked, heard HIV/HCV/TB updates and scoped out community services and treatment options. Next, Congress was presented with legislation to stop prison rape -- a “devastating” problem, according to Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), one of the bill’s sponsors. Plus, the “Prison Rape Reduction Act” actually promotes prevention, not penalties. But don’t pop the champagne corks yet: While Texas’ peer profs can preach condoms, clean needles and bleach, prisoners are barred from using them, and the anti-rape plan is still on the table. But, hey, Scarlett, tomorrow’s another day: Advocates predict passage before the New Year.
November 1, 2002 • By Laura Whitehorn