Legislative Advocacy

Support for California AB 999: Permitting Condoms in Prisons

Hon. Governor Edmund “Jerry” G. Brown, Jr.
California State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814
FAX: 916-558-3160

RE: URGE SIGNATURE FOR AB 999 (BONTA)

Dear Governor Brown:

I am representing the Board of Directors of Beyond AIDS, a national organization, founded and directed in California, which is dedicated to controlling the spread of HIV/AIDS. We urge you to sign AB 999 (Bonta).

I have personally been a director of medical services and infection control at Patton State Hospital, where I directed a successful condom distribution program for years for an incarcerated population that included mentally ill inmates transferred from state prisons. No problems were encountered, and HIV/AIDS and STDs were doubtless prevented. Subsequently, I helped to write a special order for the Department of Mental Health that included education on condom use at all of the state hospitals.

Beyond AIDS was an active supporter of AB 1667 (Koretz) in 2005-2006, which similarly would have made condoms available in state prisons. It passed but was vetoed by Gov. Schwarzenegger. As you know, another bill with the same purpose, AB 1334 (Swanson) similarly passed but was vetoed by the same Governor in 2007. However, that second time, he acknowledged the value of condoms in prisons and established a pilot program at one prison, which was evaluated in 2011 as a success.

The costs to the state will be minimal, because AB 999 provides that the condoms and dispensers will be supplied by non-profit agencies.

The problem of prison-acquired AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, affecting not only inmates but also partners in the community after release, has not diminished. With you to take a fresh look at the subject, the time has come to sign such a measure into law once and for all.

Once again, we believe that AB 999 is an advance for public health and urge you to sign it.

Sincerely,

Ron Hattis, MD, MPH
President, Beyond AIDS
Contact number: 909-838-4157

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