California Democratic Assemblyman Rob Bonta, representing the 18th district, which comprises the central East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area, is sponsoring a bill that would give the state permission to distribute condoms to prison inmates.
The bill is designed to be a five-year plan to reduce the number of sexually transmitted diseases and cases of HIV among prison populations, tacitly acknowledging that although sex acts between inmates are prohibited, they still occur with frequency.
Reuters reports that the bill has passed the state Assembly but still may face a veto from California Governor Jerry Brown, who vetoed a bill that was similar last fall.
Bonta asserted, “We are not only advocating for the improved health of prisoners, but we are also protecting communities across the state that could potentially be harmed by communicable diseases when former prisoners relocate to neighborhoods upon re-entry.”
Reuters also reported that opponents fear the condoms could be used to store contraband.