Sentenced to Stigma - Segregation of HIV-Positive Prisoners in Alabama and South Carolina

Document Date: April 14, 2010
Affiliates: ACLU of Alabama, ACLU of South Carolina

In Alabama, people in the visiting room recognize the armband worn by John S. and ask him if he has HIV. In South Carolina, Ronald B. was sentenced to 90 days in jail, but because he is HIV-positive he went to the maximum security prison that houses death row prisoners. In Mississippi, guards tell prisoners in the segregated HIV unit to “get your sick asses out of the way” when they pass them in the hall. Many prisoners with HIV will spend more time in prison because they are not eligible for programs that promote early release. These are some of the harsh consequences of HIV policies in Alabama, South Carolina and Mississippi, the only three states in the nation that have continued to segregate prisoners living with HIV. In March 2010, after reviewing the findings in this report, the Commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Corrections decided to terminate the segregation policy. The segregation and discrimination against HIV-positive prisoners continues to this day in Alabama and South Carolina, and constitutes cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in violation of international law.

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