View Full Version : Article: MDOC integrates HIV inmates into community work centers

01-31-2005, 07:14 PM

Posted on Mon, Jan. 31, 2005

Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. - The Mississippi Department of Corrections is complying with a federal court order to integrate HIV-infected prisoners into the penal system's community work programs, the American Civil Liberties Union said Monday.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Jerry A. Davis ordered the policy change in June following a lengthy court battle with the ACLU.

"Our main concern now is that they are integrated in the same way as other prisoners. That will be our next step, to make sure that is happening," ACLU National Prison Projects attorney Jessica Feierman told The Associated Press on Monday.

MDOC spokeswoman Suzanne Singletary said, as of Monday, there were 10 HIV-infected prisoners in community work programs.

Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps said that whether or not a prisoner has HIV is no longer a factor in determining where they are housed or whether they are placed work programs.

"They are treated the same as other prisoners," Epps said.

There are 17 community work centers in the state, each housing about 75 inmates who work for cities, counties, state agencies and charitable organizations.

Epps said there are numerous criteria that an inmate must meet in order to qualify for these programs. Inmates with a history of violent crimes and those considered flight risks are not placed in work programs, he said.

"It's a tough criteria," he said. "We expect you to work. You have to be able to work physically and mentally."

The state's HIV-positive prisoners, about 250 in all, have generally been housed separately from the rest of the prison population.

The male HIV inmates are housed in Unit 28 at the state penitentiary in Parchman, while the HIV-positive women are held at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Rankin County.

The ACLU sued on the grounds that HIV-infected inmates were not receiving equal treatment because they were denied access to the work programs.

Under Davis' ruling, the prisoners were made eligible to transfer to the lower security community work centers.

Nsombi Lambright, executive director of the ACLU of Mississippi, said the move is a "step in the right direction."

"That's something that we fought for," Lambright said. "We want them to have access to all the programs available."

02-01-2005, 02:56 AM
Well I am not sure about them being integrated with all of the other prisoners, but I do know that at MSP they were treated horribly at Unit 28. Most wanted to die then to have to go to that building. They could not do anything, not even go to church because they were a "risk". Everyone has rights, and should be given those rights, regardless.