To cut STD rate, Calif considers condoms in prison

Solano Prison

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation / EPA

A common area in Solano Prison.

California lawmakers are considering a bill requiring officials to make condoms available to state prison inmates as a way of limiting the spread of HIV and other diseases.

Democratic Assemblyman Rob Bonta of Oakland says it's time to give inmates a way to practice safe sex to reduce an infection rate that experts say is much higher than in the general population.

However, state law prohibits sex between inmates, creating a conflict that concerns both supporters and opponents of the legislation.

Bonta's proposal would require officials to make condoms available in each of the state's 33 adult prisons by 2020.

If AB999 becomes law, California would be the second state to provide condoms to all prisoners.

The state has tried a distribution program before on a temporary and limited basis.

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