TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Judge halts Alabama policy of segregating HIV-positive inmates, which violates federal disabilities law

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Friday, Dec. 21, 2012, 5:14 p.m.
 

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A judge struck down Alabama's decades-old policy of segregating prison inmates with HIV, ruling on Friday that it violates federal disabilities law.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson ruled in favor of inmates who sued to end the long-standing practice and said he would give the state and inmate attorneys time to propose a way to bring state prisons into compliance with his order.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of seven HIV-positive inmates, called the decision “historic.”

Prisons Commissioner Kim Thomas issued a statement saying corrections officials were studying the ruling and had not decided “our next course of action.

He said the department “is very disappointed with the conclusions and characterizations reached by the Court.”

“The men and women of the ADOC are not prejudiced against HIV-positive inmates, and have worked hard over the years to improve their health care, living conditions, and their activities,” Thomas said. “The ADOC remains committed to providing appropriate housing for all of its inmates, including the HIV-positive population, ensuring that these inmates receive a constitutional level of medical care and that the correctional system in Alabama does not further contribute to the current HIV epidemic in our State.”

Alabama and South Carolina are the only states that segregate HIV-positive prisoners. The class-action lawsuit accused the state of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“It spells an end to a segregation policy that has inflicted needless misery on Alabama prisoners with HIV and their families,” said ACLU attorney Margaret Winter, who was lead counsel for the plaintiffs during a monthlong trial.

Neither the lawsuit or the judge's ruling mentions South Carolina.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. Feds weighed national standards but let North Dakota set regulations for oil trains’ safety
  2. Young white males replace older black men as OD victims as heroin deaths climb
  3. Reports: Actor Ford seriously injured in small-plane crash in L.A.
  4. Latest winter blast strands airline passengers, motorists
  5. Weapon supply vulnerable to hackers, Pentagon official warns
  6. Dig uncovers ancient stone tool in eastern Oregon
  7. Gag order overturned in Upper Big Branch case
  8. McConnell punts on Iran review bill
  9. Lawmakers move to require schools to teach cursive amid Common Core wrangling
  10. Appeals court tosses gag order in ex-coal company CEO’s case
  11. Raw milk has little evidence of antibiotics, FDA survey finds