A bill that aims to curb the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases among California’s prison inmates awaits signing by Governor Schwarzenegger.

The Inmate and Community Public Health and Safety Act would allow nonprofit organizations to distribute condoms and other sexual safety devices to the state’s inmates, in an effort to prevent the spread of diseases to both the prison population and the general population once prisoners are released.

The bill has been criticized for promoting sex in prison.  Says Conservative California state senator Dave Cox (R), “The fact that this irresponsible bill has made it this far is outrageous.” Its supporters, who cite the bill’s acknowledgment of the high instances of prison rape, include the California Medical Association, the California Chapter of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Conference of Delegates of the California State Bar.