Judge Thompson Orders Alabama to Stop Segregating Prisoners with HIV
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A federal judge in Alabama has ordered the state to stop segregating its prisoners living with HIV, a “historic decision” according to prison advocates who successfully argued the practice violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In a 153-page ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Myron H. Thompson ruled Friday in a class-action lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) that the Alabama Department of Corrections discriminates against the state’s 250 prisoners living with the disease by housing them separately and denies them equal access to rehabilitative programs.
“Today’s decision is historic,” said Margaret Winter, associate director of the ACLU National Prison Project and lead counsel for the plaintiffs. “It spells an end to a segregation policy that has inflicted needless misery on Alabama prisoners with HIV and their families.”
Thompson, in his decision, said that while the state’s segregation policy has been an unnecessary tool for preventing the transmission of HIV, it has been an effective one for “humiliating and isolating” prisoners living with the disease.