Alabama Department of Corrections Continues to Deny Programs to HIV-Positive Prisoners

Document Date: December 11, 2007

> Letter to ADOC Commissioner Richard F. Allen from the ACLU
> The Women of Dormitory E: Safeguarding the Rights of Prisoners with HIV/AIDS in Alabama

Dana Harley, 33, has been incarcerated at the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women since 2002 and has been HIV-positive for six years. She has a 7-year-old son and teaches in the Floral Design Program at the prison. (full-size)


Eric Howard, an HIV-positive former inmate at the Limestone Correctional Facility in Harvest, Ala., talks about the discimination he faced inside the prison.

Paulette Nichols discusses discrimination against HIV-positive prisoners inside the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Ala.

Officials with the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) continue to categorically exclude all HIV-positive prisoners from its work release programs, despite the programs' critical importance to prisoner rehabilitation and the clear benefit to the outside community of these programs.

In fact, many of the promises that ADOC officials have made in recent months regarding expanding access for HIV-positive inmates to a wide range of prison programs have thus far proven to be hollow. While ADOC has followed through on its promise to grant the HIV-positive women access to most of the educational programs, substance abuse treatment programs, and religious services available to women prisoners who don't have HIV, ADOC continues to isolate the HIV-positive men in quarantined housing units behind barbed-wire fences, and bars them from participating in many prison jobs, rehabilitative programs, and recreational and vocational opportunities available to the men who don't have HIV.

After the ACLU wrote a letter in September 2007 to ADOC Commissioner Richard F. Allen urging him to put an immediate end to grossly discriminatory segregation policies and practices being enforced by ADOC, Allen announced that he had implemented a review of prison policies and procedures — a review that so far has yet to birth the sweeping reforms that are desperately needed.

The ACLU’s National Prison Project, in conjunction with staff from the ACLU of Alabama and the ACLU's LGBT and AIDS Project, are continuing to push for equal access for all prisoners to prison jobs, family visiting rooms, dining halls, sports and recreational opportunities, community corrections programs, faith-based programs, and religious services.

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