In 2007, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California vetoed a measure that would have stocked the state’s prisons with condoms for inmate use. Now, the measure is back. A bill making its way through the Assembly would distribute condoms throughout the state prisons. Condom distribution in prisons has already been put into practice in jails in major cities like New York, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. The goal: to cut down on HIV infections, as well as pregnancy from conjugal visits.
The bill that Schwarzenegger vetoed would have allowed any public health care agency to “distribute sexual barrier protection devices such as condoms and dental dams to inmates.” Incredibly, the law itself laughably suggested, “The distribution of those devices shall not be considered a crime nor shall it be deemed to encourage sexual acts between inmates.” How else such activity should be deemed remains unsaid.