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 of HIV and other diseases 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. In fact, having sex behind bars is considered a felony crime.
Bonta's proposal would require officials to make condoms available in each of the state's 33 adult prisons by 2020.
LA County Sheriff Spokesman Steve Whitmore says illegal or not, the reality is, sex is happening, so they distribute protection.
"We have seen a noticeable drop in transmissions. And also, new cases, which is important."
Opponents of Bonta's measure worry that handouts will encourage more sexual acitivity or that the condoms could be used to smuggle or hide drugs or other contraband.