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AB 999 Passes Public Safety Committee

Assemblymember Bonta

Assemblymember Bonta (D-Oakland) was proud to announce today that his bill to reduce the transmission of HIV/AIDS and other STDs in California prisons passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee. The Prisoner Protections for Family and Community Health Act (AB 999) now moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

“Sexually transmitted disease is a tragic reality of life in prison. The HIV/AIDS infection rate in prison is 8 to 10 times higher than among the general population. Our state must address this unsettling and sometimes disturbing topic head-on and realize that the long-term benefits to vulnerable communities and to the budget are well-worth the modest state investment,” explained Assemblymember Bonta.

Many Legislators have taken steps to address this issue in the past. AB 999 takes a new approach to the problem by reassessing those prior bills and refining them with insight learned from a recent pilot project. Specifically, AB 1334 (Swanson, 2007)  would have required the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to allow nonprofits and health agencies to enter prisons to provide sexual barrier protection devices (condoms) to prisoners. Governor Schwarzenegger’s veto message directed CDCR to conduct a pilot program at one state prison facility to determine the risks and viability of condom distribution. A pilot project was subsequently conducted at Solano State Prison from November 5, 2008, through November 4, 2009.

“My office carefully evaluated the successful findings of that pilot project contained in the September 2011 report, Evaluation of a Prisoner Condom Access Pilot Program Conducted in One California Prison Facility, and drafted AB 999 as a direct response to those findings. AB 999 would require CDCR to implement a five-year phase-in to distribute condoms at all state prisons in a manner consistent with the Solano Prison pilot project findings.

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