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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

WREG-TV: Should Condoms Be Given to Inmates?

By Danya Bacchus, WREG-TV [Link]

FAST FACTS:

- Inmate Charged With Rape And Assault of Fellow Inmate
- Case Could Renew Push For Condoms In Prison
- Activist Says Yes, County Officials Against The Idea

(Memphis 12/16/2008) Shelby County Corrections inmate Lorenzo Shelton is already behind bars. Now, he faces new charges: Rape and aggravated assault of another inmate. Novella Arnold is familiar with stories like this one but the one she tells has a different ending.

"Tears started to come down and he said I was raped in jail and I was given this virus but I was afraid and ashamed to tell it," said Arnold.

Arnold's foster daughter contracted HIV from man raped in prison over 20 years ago. Today, she is fighting to have condoms passed out to inmates. But it's not going to be an easy task. Shelby County Sheriff Mark Lutrell and County Division of Corrections Director Andrew Taber say there's no county policy that allows sex behind bars for inmates. They don't want condoms to send mixed message to inmates.

"They can't tell me they're not doing that in jail. Nobody is watching when you're in your cell block," said Arnold.

Shelby County Health Department officials make sure standards for inmate healthcare are met but admit passing out protection is not one of them. Arnold, who was once a volunteer chaplain for the jail, has seen people die from HIV and AIDs. She believes the issue is simple.

"If just a rubber would save a life then give it."

1 Comments:

Blogger Angelina said...

Yes! I would like to take this time to congratulate Novella Smith for her recent award from the Memphis & Shelby County Music Commission. I LOVE YOU GODMOM and DAD! You are a breathe of fresh air.
Love,
Angel

March 31, 2010 at 5:03 PM  

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