Condoms in Prison?

I read a Human Rights Watch report about whether or not condoms should be allowed to inmates in prisons and jails.  The title intrigued me and relates to some of the issues discussed in the readings about elderly offenders; specifically the types of diseases older inmates are faced with, including AIDS.  Since infection rates within prisons and jails are fairly high compared with that of the general population it seems to make sense to encourage the distribution of condoms. Certainly some feel a strong opposition to this idea, fearing it will encourage sexual activity and moral/ religious beliefs against homosexuality. Another concern for correction officers is that condoms are sometimes used to carry contraband such as tobacco and/ or drugs. The report noted, however, that contraband is more often brought into the prison through contact visits the inmates have with visitors.  The report cites other countries’ wide spread use of condoms in prisons, as well as opinions of inmates and correction officers in a Washington D.C. Detention Center, where 55 percent of inmates and 64 percent of correction officers support the availability of condoms in their facility.  If I were a correction officer I would most likely be in favor of condoms because it would most likely reduce the risk that a guard might acquire the HIV infection by means of an accident or attack on a guard, in addition to protecting the health of inmates.  Surely there would be risks associated with the availability of condoms due to the risk of contraband, but condoms could also be a wonderful tool for helping to maintain healthier facilities.


Articles regarding elderly inmates

In reading the articles on aging prison populations I was not surprised to see that average cost per elderly inmate was around $67,000 annually, which is about three times the cost of a younger prisoner. I was surprised however, when I realized after reading that inmates do not qualify for Medicare or Medicaid thus placing the burden on state taxpayers. As mentioned in one of the articles concerning the growing number of elderly inmates to younger ones, it seems are spending is soaring to maintain a geriatric prison population that is less then likely to recidivate and is essentially diverting attention from younger more efficient and active criminals. Due to the overpopulation in some prisons, capacity to maintain newer criminals is becoming an exacerbating issue not only for the state but for general well being in society. I personally would rather parole an elderly inmate who runs up costs for the state then to let a younger Continue reading