Prison Law Blog

Sara Mayeux

South Carolina Will Likely Miss Today’s DOJ Deadline to Change Its HIV Segregation Policy

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From the AP, an update on the looming lawsuit over the South Carolina prison system’s HIV-segregation policy. Unless something changes today, the stage is set for the DOJ to file suit:

The state faces a Wednesday deadline [i.e., today] to change the practice, which prison officials say is best for inmates and prison employees.

All state prisons “are safer from a public health perspective and a security perspective as a direct result of this program,” Corrections Department attorney David Tatarsky wrote in an August response to the Department of Justice.

More than 400 HIV-positive inmates are housed together at maximum security prisons in Columbia, including some who would not usually be in such high-security facilities. …

The report argued that HIV-positive inmates don’t have access to the same programs and jobs as other prisoners and are wrongly stigmatized. They are also prevented from participating in work-release programs, meaning they can’t earn credits to shorten their sentences.

“That inevitably means that they serve longer sentences and are essentially being warehoused for no reason other than a medical condition,” Margaret Winter, associate director of the ACLU’s National Prison Project, said Tuesday.

For background, see my earlier posts here and here, and the conversation on this issue a few weeks back chez Adam Serwer and the Daily Dish.

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