Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Growing Rates of HIV in America

If anyone has been following HIV-related news over the past year or so, you'd know that HIV is growing rapidly in America among certain groups of people, especially African American women. There are a number of theories why, but today's Washington Post explored a promising theory: rising rates of African Americans in prison. Read the article in full, it's short and to the point - and very relevant to any state in this country.

I think the clear and quick answer to this rising epidemic is to try giving out free condoms to prisoners. I posted in detail on this subject over at Progress Now and I hope people will read my link to it. Free condoms could work, it could save this country millions and millions of dollars from preventing thousands of new HIV cases and, most importantly, it could save a lot of lives.

A lot of people will be against this policy because they view it as advocating gay sex (anything to stop The Gays!), but as the WashPo article pointed out - over half the prison population is doing it already. Bottom line: this isn't just about prisoners, this is about those they'll infect when they get out of prison. To save innocent lives, we need to stop HIV at the source. If progressives can properly advocate that position, we'll win over our conservative critics.


joe schlieff said...

I've always been a fan of not commiting crimes or being a slut, which is a pretty effective deterrant to getting HIV.

In all seriousness, rather than passing out free condoms, why not kill two birds with one stone and make prisons enact isolation 24/7. There would be no contact to spread disease, and it would also make the prison system the type of institution people are afraid to go to.

Sounds mean, but hey, if you can't do the time...

Ryan Adams said...

Call me crazy, but I somehow don't think solitary confinement is a great way to rehabilitate convicts. I prefer treatment that gets people ready to participate in society like good boys and girls. Plus, even in solitary confinement, people still need to take showers... where, I'm sure, most of the action takes place.

joe schlieff said...

They aren't being rehabilitated at all. It's not supposed to be rehab anyways, it's punishment. When you were a kid and you did something bad, you parents didnt send you to your room to be rehablilited, they sent you there to be punished and alone and not having fun and such.

Now, if we offered contact in the context of real classrooms in prisons, I'm all for that, but there's no reason to do away with group showers.

Ryan Adams said...

Well, we have a clear difference of opinion as to the purpose of prisons. I think you'd be in the minority, even among conservatives, if you thought prisons were solely for punishment. There definately is a rehabilitation aspect to it - as well as punishment. Prison serves both roles and through doing both we'll have fewer returning inmates.

It shouldn't be a walk in the park, but isolation 24/7 won't serve to benifit society as a whole when prisoners get out of prison. You should be more pragmatic and support an institutional system that will produce less criminals, even if you think they deserve worse.

joe schlieff said...

true. what I think they deserve and what would be best for society are different.

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