State Corrections Commissioner Christopher Epps announced yesterday that Mississippi will end its practice of separating male HIV-positive prisoners from other inmates beginning in May, reports WDAM. Mississippi currently houses 152 HIV-positive prisoners in a segregated unit in Parchman.
Only two other states segregate its infected prisoners: Alabama and South Carolina.
"Commissioner Epps deserves a tremendous amount of credit for making this courageous decision to replace a policy based on irrational HIV prejudice with a policy based on science, sound correctional practice and respect for human rights," Associate Director of the ACLU National Prison Project Margaret Winter said in a statement. "The remaining segregation policies in South Carolina and Alabama are a remnant of the early days of the HIV epidemic and continue to stigmatize prisoners and inflict them and their families with a tremendous amount of needless suffering."