People With HIV are "Dangerous As Rattlesnakes"

Last night, featured an op-ed by Rachel Maddow (Yes! That Rachel Maddow!) and Margaret Winter, Associate Director at the ACLU's National Prison Project (NPP). Maddow worked for NPP from 2002 to 2004, and still covers issues of discrimination against people who are HIV-positive on her show. The duo wrote about the recent announcement that the Alabama Department of Corrections will now allow HIV-positive prisoners to participate in the prisons' work-release programs. They write:

HIV-segregation policies stemmed from raging paranoia about HIV contagion, paranoia that was extreme in Mississippi and even worse in Alabama. During a federal trial in the mid-1990s, an Alabama warden testified that the segregation policy was an essential security measure since people with HIV were as dangerous as rattlesnakes. He thought they should all be permanently tagged (and Alabama did make its prisoners with HIV wear special uniforms so they could be immediately identified even at a distance). A warden at the women's prison in Alabama testified that it was too dangerous to allow prisoners with HIV to attend chapel because they might leap from their seats and bite someone to deliberately infect them with the disease. Years later, former prisoners with HIV still weep when they describe the humiliation of being ostracized, isolated, mocked and warehoused in segregated dormitories behind razor wire in a prison-inside-the-prison, and in many cases serving far more time in prison simply because of their disease.

As their article points out, it'll take many more small steps like Alabama's towards completely eliminating discrimination against HIV-positive prisoners. The NPP continues to advocate for HIV-positive prisoners in the South — you can watch interviews with prisoners at the Julia Tutwiler prison in Alabama on our website.


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Uncle Sammy

Many with aids are much more dangerous than rattlers! How much are we spending on this? Those with aids have a moral obligation not to spead it if they have any morals? We need much stricter laws regarding aids!


Rattlesnakes aren't actually that dangerous. They let you know when they're pissed so you can back away.


Uncle Sammy, people with serious, communicable, incurable diseases do have a moral obligation to protect others. Are you looking for laws to hold them accountable for lapses in their morals or for preventing opportunities for spreading the virus?


It's incredible that ignorant bigots think they have any buisness lecturing anyone about morality.


The MOST Dangerous of all in this world, Uncle Sammy, are those who are IGNORANT, inhumane, and demented so-called thinkers, just like You. AIDS has affected every race, culture, social status, every country, and every generatin now on this planet. Those who have AIDS live in Hell everyday due to their medications, their fears of dying, being ostrisized from family/community - etc. You think you can judge, chastize, and assume you have higher morals then soomeone with AIDS-you even want to criminalize it!
You most likely have a friend/family member close to you infected with this deadly disease and may not know it because they fear your rejection. Your lack of Human emotion/understanding, and above ALL - your lack of education, is why this world has so many problems. God is our judge-and God is ever understanding and Loving. God will judge you one day...


You've got to be kidding, right? Why don't you people focus on shit that is more important like innocent children being raped, beaten and killed? I'll bet you have a REAL hard time sleeping at night, don't you?
Get a grip and get a clue... BTW, who the fuck pays your salaries so you can blah, blah about bullshit? I'm obviously in the wrong line of business...


Why don't we combine rival gang members to. Prisoners have way too many rights as it is. I love having my tax dollars go toward making sure criminals have access to digital television. Our Justice dept. needs to be harder on people who can't follow the laws. Maybe if our prisons were less hospitable people might think twice before commiting crimes.

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