SFGate.com (San Francisco) (09.17.12)
Although the HIV virus is no longer the death sentence it once was considered to be, Alabama prisons continue to isolate inmates who have tested positive for it, said ACLU attorney Margaret Winter on September 17. On behalf of the HIV-positive inmates, ACLU attorney Winter requested U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson to end the longstanding Alabama prison policy of isolating inmates who are HIV-positive. Attorney Bill Lunsford, representing Alabama prisons, stated that the HIV-positive prisoners are kept together in separate dormitories for men and women, but that they can participate in most of the programs available to other inmates. The ACLU attorney argued, however, that the policy violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, because it prohibits HIV-positive inmates from participating in some programs that would help their rehabilitation, particularly in obtaining food service jobs. The lawyers are presenting their cases before Judge Thompson in a trial of a federal lawsuit challenging the Alabama prisons' policy of segregating HIV-positive prison inmates.